Blue poison dart frog

(Dendrobates tinctorius 'azureus')

The blue poison dart frog, which is also called the blue poison tree frog or simply just 'azureus', is one of the most famous and most popular dendrobates because of its distinctive colouring. The 4–6 cm small frogs live in the tropical rain forests of South America.


Guyana, Suriname and North Brazil

Tropical rain forests

Insects and molluscs


Approx. 5 cm

4-8 g

Brooding time
Hatching of the tadpoles after 12 to 16 days

Achievable age
Approx. 10 years

What you should know about poison dart frogs
Until 2006 the blue poison dart frog passed as a distinct species. With newly acquired knowledge in the form of molecular genetic examinations to hand, certain species, among others, were redefined and genera reassigned. Since then, the 'azureus' was no longer considered as a valid species, but as a local colour variant of the dyeing dart frog.

So small, so colourful – yet so poisonous!
There is one particular thing that is striking about the poison dart frog when you see it: its jazzy colour – and this often points to nothing harmless in nature. Yet caution must also be observed with this splendid specimen, since the convulsant poison 'Batrachotoxin' of the azureus causes paralysis of the muscles and breathing. For humans, poisoning can be fatal even with only two micrograms – therefore the following applies in the great outdoors: Watch your fingers!

Poison dart frogs aren't so terrifying in the Zoo

Poison dart frogs do not incidentally produce their poison themselves. Instead they accumulate it in the wild through the consumption of certain ants and only then build it up in their skin. The specimens kept in the Zoo only get 'non-poisonous' food, so are therefore not poisonous – this makes the zookeepers breathe a little bit easier.

How did the poison dart frog get its name?

Poison dart frogs get their name thanks to the Chocó Indians in Colombia, who use the poison of the frogs for their hunting with blowpipes. Without actually touching the frogs, the Indians collect the separated skin secretions and immerse their arrows in it – whereas the procedure ends fatally for the poison dart frogs. Up to 30–50 arrows can be prepared with supposedly only a single drop of poison.

Is it true, that ...?

... the poison dart frog has no natural predators? With such poisonous creatures, one is inclined to believe that, but it isn't true. In fact the golden-bellied viper (Leimadophis epinephelus), that lives in South America, is the only species that can be their undoing. While it is true that they are not immune to its venom, they have built up a bit of resistance.

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