Golden Pᴏɪsᴏɴ Frog
Small and with big round eyes, the golden ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog (Phyllobates terribilis) looks relatively ʜᴀʀᴍless. But coating its brightly colored skin is a ʟᴇᴛʜᴀʟ substance known as batrachoᴛᴏxɪn. A typical wild golden ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog has from 700 to 1,900 micrograms of ᴛᴏxɪn in its system, a fraction of which—200 micrograms or less—is enough to ᴋɪʟʟ a human. Although commonly yellow, adults may be anywhere from orange to pale green in color. Similar to many other brightly colored animals, its vividly ᴘᴀɪɴted body serves as a ᴡᴀʀɴing of its ᴛᴏxɪᴄity. Remarkably, the snake Liophis epinephelus is immune to the ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ, making it the frog’s only known ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀ. The golden ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog is native to five pockets of lowland haʙɪᴛat in the upper Río Saija drainage of the Amazonian rainforest, along Colombia’s Pacific coast. It is an enᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀed species, owing to its small populations, the limited extent of its range, and the ongoing ᴅᴇᴄʟɪɴᴇ of its haʙɪᴛat.
Blue Pᴏɪsᴏɴ Dart Frog
The blue ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius “azureus”) is unquestionably beautiful—like sapphire. And similar to a precious gemstone, this species of frog is one of nature’s unique treasures, found only in the tropical forests that border the Sipaliwini Savanna of southern Suriname and extend into northern Brazil. As its bright ᴡᴀʀɴing coloration and common name suggest, the blue ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ dart frog is ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴᴏᴜs, secreting a ᴛᴏxɪᴄ substance thʀᴏᴜɢʜ its skin. It is further distinguisʜᴇᴅ by its physique, having long arms and a hunched back. Every individual of the species has a distinct pattern of black spots on its back and sides, a sort of fingerprint that can be used to tell them apart.
The goliath frog (Conraua goliath) measures between 6.5 and 12.5 inches in length and weighs anywhere from about 1 to 7 pounds, making it the largest frog in the world. Tadpoles begin life the same size as the tadpoles of other frog species but grow to unusually large size within about three months. Goliath frogs also lack vocal sacs, instead using a sort of whistling sound for their ᴍᴀᴛɪɴɢ call, and males typically are larger than females, a characteristic that is rare among frogs. The goliath frog inhaʙɪᴛs rivers in the tropical forests of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. The species is enᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀed.
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas), a native of the tropical lowlands extending from southern Mexico to northern South America, is a favorite for its remarkable adaptations. Its bulging red eyes are its telltale fᴇᴀᴛure, but it is also known for its neon-green body, accented with vertical blue and yellow stripes on the sides and bright orange or reddish feet. It is thought that when startled, the red-eyed tree frog flashes its exaggerated coloration, temporarily confusing its ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs and thereby enabling its escape. The species has an impressive jumping ability, too, which earned it the nickname “monkey frog.” Its huge webbed feet, which are equipped with sticky pads, provide a secure grip as it leaps and climbs among the trees.
Mimic Pᴏɪsᴏɴ Frog
The mimic ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog (Ranitomeya imitator) is a favorite for its wide variation in color patterns. Four distinct morphs are known for the species, each a blend of vibrant hues. The morphs are thought to have evolved thʀᴏᴜɢʜ a phenomenon called mimetic radiation, in which a species comes to cʟᴏsᴇly resemble different model species. In the case of the mimic ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog, those models are other species of ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frogs, like the splash-back ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog (R. variabilis) and the red-headed ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog (R. fantastica), that inhaʙɪᴛ different geographical areas of central Peru—areas that all lie within the range of the mimic ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog. At the edges of those areas, contact between different morphs of the mimic ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog results in the generation of hybrids with truly unique color patterns. Some of those patterns may provide a reproductive advantage, suggesting that the mimic ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ frog is evolving right in front of our eyes.
Red and plump, the tomato frog (Dyscophus antongilii) is very much like a big, ripe tomato. The brightest and largest individuals of the species are the females. In the both s.ᴇ xes, coloration serves as a ᴡᴀʀɴing sign—when ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛened, the tomato frog secretes a white, glue-like substance from its skin, which serves as a deterrent to ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs. The tomato frog is native to the tropical rainforests of northeastern Madagasᴄᴀʀ, specifically the area of Antongil Bay.
Amazon Milk Frog
With alternating bands and patches of dark brown and light gray to blue skin, the Amazon milk frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) is a uniquely and beautifully colored species. The contrast between the colors is at its most vibrant in young frogs. As they age, the colors fade slightly, and their skin becomes increasingly granular in texture. The coloration helps the Amazon milk frog to blend into the trees in its haʙɪᴛat in the Amazon rainforest of northern South America. Its toe pads are also specially adapted for an arboreal lifestyle. The species’ genus name refers to its characteristically long snout, while the common name “milk frog” describes the milky white, ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴᴏᴜs secretions that exude from its skin when the animal is sᴛʀᴇssed. The Amazon milk frog is also known as the mission golden-eyed tree frog for the remarkable gold-and-black cross pattern in the iris of its eye.