Dart-poison frogs (Dendrobatidae ) 

Dart Poison Frog
Judith Wolfe

           Dart-Poison Frog

Zoo collection includes: There are more than 100 species of poison dart frogs, varying in color and pattern. The CPZ has about five species.

Found in the wild: Poison dart frogs live in the rainforests of Central and South America and on a few Hawaiian islands.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: Upstairs in the close-up gallery in the Tropical Rain Forest and in the special Frog/Toad exhibit near the entrance of the Zoo.

Description: These frogs are aposematic, meaning their coloration serves as a warning to predators. In the wild their skin emits a neurotoxin. CPZ has several species of frog. All are beautifully colored, including blue and black (Dendrobates azureus), green and black (Dendrobates auratus), yellow and black (Dendrobates tinctorius) and orange and black (Phyllobates bicolor).

What do they eat: Poison dart frogs feed mostly on spiders and small insects such as ants and termites, which they find on the forest floor using their excellent vision. They capture their prey by using their long sticky tongues. CPZ feeds them crickets.

Life span: They may live more than ten years in captivity

Threats: Some poison dart frogs are endangered due to habitat loss, which is causing numbers to decline among many species.
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Fun Facts: The only natural predator of most of the poison dart frog family is a snake called Leimadophis epinephelus, which has developed a resistance to the frogs' poison. Male frogs go through an elaborate ritual to attract a mate. The males vocalize, a loud trill sound, to attract females. Once the courtship ritual is complete, the females deposit dozens of eggs on leaves. During the two-week development period, the male returns to the eggs periodically to check on them. Once the tadpoles hatch, they swim onto the male’s back and are attached by a mucus secretion, which keeps them from falling off. The male carries them to a place suitable for further development, such as wet holes in broken trees and branches and little ponds. Once at their final destination, the tadpoles are on their own. They need an additional three months to metamorphose into small frogs.


Waxy Monkey Frog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii)

Waxy Monkey Frog
Judith Wolfe

                   Waxy Monkey Frog

Zoo collection includes: Several frogs

Found in the wild: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Dry scrub forest and on vegetation near temporary lagoons or ponds.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: Upstairs in the close-up gallery in the Tropic Zone.

Description: These frogs grow to about 3 inches, females being about 25% larger than males. Both the dorsal and ventral surfaces are a plain blue-green color. A broken white stripe runs from the top lip and down each side of the body. The ventral surface is marked with irregular white spots and lines. Juveniles may also show orange flash colors on the insides of their limbs

What do they eat: A variety of insects.

Life span: About eight years.

Threats: Threatened by the pet trade, destruction of habitat, land and water pollution.

Fun Facts: There are several names that they are also called, including: Painted-bellied Leaf Frog, Painted Monkey Frog, and Grasping Frog. They are very skilled at grasping branches with their opposable thumbs. During the day, they bask in the sun, pulling their arms and legs close to their body. At night they hunt for insects

Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki)

Panamanian Golden Frog
Judith Wolfe

      Panamanian Golden Frog

Zoo collection includes: About six individuals

Found in the wild: It inhabits fast flowing streams in dry forests and wet forests. It is endemic to Panama, meaning that it is found only in that country

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: Upstairs in the close-up gallery in the Tropical Rain Forest and in the special Frog/Toad exhibit near the entrance of the Zoo.

Description: A golden-rod yellow with black spots.

What do they eat: Insects

Life span: Nobody is certain how long a Panamanian golden frog lives in the wild; in captivity, they can live up to 5 years or more.

Threats: Panamanian golden frog is listed as Critically Endangered. They  are under pressure from loss of habitat, over collection, and most of all, the chytrid fungus disease.

Fun Facts: These frogs are really toads. They can’t jump too far - instead, they hop or walk about in a clumsy manner. Males are known to be very persistent, clinging to a female for days, just “waiting” on her back until the moment she is finally fertile. Eggs are laid during periods of reduced stream flow, usually at the onset of the dry season, in wide shallow areas of the stream where the canopy is more open. Panamanian golden frogs can be seen waving their hands to each other, literally saying “stop, don’t get any closer, this is my place”.  This behavior, known as semaphoring, is believed to have evolved in order to communicate in noisy environments, like streams, and takes advantage of their keen sense of sight.


Smokey Jungle Frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus)

Smokey Jungle Frog
Judith Wolfe

                Smokey Jungle Frog

Zoo collection includes: Three individuals

Found in the wild: Central America south to Honduras and Brazil, found on the forest floor in abandoned burrows or under leaf litter.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: The frogs can be found in the special Frog/Toad exhibit in the Gallery close to the entrance of the Zoo.

Description: A large frog, 5 to 6 inches long, brown with black markings. Males are larger than females and have nuptial spines on each side of their chest.

What do they eat: Smoky Jungle Frogs are voracious predators, and they will eagerly capture and gulp down frogs, snakes, lizards, small birds, small mammals, and large invertebrates. Even its tadpoles are predators, and they will consume other frog tadpoles and eggs.

Threats: Not endangered

Fun Facts: It is is also commonly known as the Central or South American Bullfrog or Rana Ternero in Spanish. Females make 2 to 7 floating nests per season with up to 300 eggs in each nest. Eggs hatch in 4 to 7 days.





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