Phyllobates terribilis

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Phyllobates terribilis


Taxonavigation: Anura 

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Amphibia
Subclassis: Lissamphibia
Ordo: Anura

Familia: Dendrobatidae
Subfamilia: Dendrobatinae
Genus: Phyllobates
Species: Phyllobates terribilis The golden poison dart frog is considered one of the most toxic animals on Earth. A single specimen measuring two inches (five centimeters) can have enough alkaloid toxin to kill ten grown men. Indigenous Emberá people of Colombia have used its powerful poison for centuries to tip their blowgun darts when hunting, hence the species' name.

These brightly colored amphibians are among the largest of the more than 100 poison dart frog species, averaging more than one inch (two and a half centimeters) 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.

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.

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.(the crucial insect may be a small beetle from the family Melyridae) Poison dart frogs raised in captivity and isolated from insects in their native habitat never develop poison.

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


Phyllobates terribilis Myers, Daly & Malkin, 1978

Type locality: "lowland rain forest at Quebrada Guanguí, about 0.5 km above its junction with Río Patia, 100-200 m elevation, in upper Río Saija drainage, Department of Cauca, Colombia".

Holotype: AMNH 88876.


Vernacular names[edit]

English: Golden Poison Frog
galego: Ra dourada
magyar: Rettenetes nyílméregbéka
日本語: モウドクフキヤガエル
português: Rã-dourada-venenosa