Golden Poison Frog

Common Name:
Golden Poison Frog
Scientific Name:
Phyllobates terribilis
Type:
Amphibians
Diet:
Carnivore
Group Name:
Army
Average Life Span In The Wild:
10 years
Size:
1 inch
Weight:
Less than 1 ounce
IUCN Red List Status:
Endangered
Current Population Trend:
Decreasing

The golden poison frog is considered one of the most toxic animals on Earth. A single specimen measuring two inches has enough venom to kill ten grown men. The indigenous Emberá people of Colombia have used its powerful venom for centuries to tip their blowgun darts when hunting, hence the species' name.

Population

These brightly colored amphibians are among the largest of the more than 100 poison dart frog species, averaging more than one inch in length. They live within a tiny plot of rain forest on the Pacific coast of Colombia. And though the population in its small range is abundant, widespread decimation of the rain forest has landed this species on international endangered lists.

Coloring and Diet

Their coloring, which can be yellow, orange, or pale green, depending on their particular range, is deliberately ostentatious to ward off potential predators, a tactic called aposematic coloration. Their diet includes flies, crickets, ants, termites, and beetles.

Toxicity

Scientists are unsure of the source of this frog's amazing toxicity, but it is possible they assimilate plant poisons, which are carried by their prey. Poison dart frogs raised in captivity and isolated from insects in their native habitat never develop venom.

The medical research community has been exploring possible medicinal uses for the golden poison frog's toxins. They have already developed a synthetic version of one of the poison's compounds that has promise as a powerful painkiller.

This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
Photograph by Camilo Mutis, National Geographic Your Shot

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet