The Loving Poison Dart Frog – from Creation Moments
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
The Choco Indians of Panama and Colombia use the poison from the skin of the beautiful poison dart frog to make their lethal darts. The bright orange and deep blue skin of this frog serves to warn predators that it is best left alone and its poisonous skin untouched.
Although it is deadly, the poison dart frog is one of the most loving parents in the entire amphibian world. The female will lay about a dozen eggs in the leaf litter within her mate’s territory. Both parents will stand watch over the eggs, keeping them moist, until the tadpoles emerge. Then the female allows each tadpole, one at a time, to wriggle onto her back. She takes each tadpole, in its turn, to its own miniature pond created by water trapped in the fronds of jungle plants. The mother poison dart frog remembers where each one of her tadpoles is and returns on a regular schedule to lay infertile eggs for the growing youngster to eat.
I would prefer to think that the care of the adult poison dart frogs for their children grows out of a sense of love for their off-spring, and we know that God is the author of all love. But even if this care is programmed instinct, we must still find the “programmer” – and that takes us back to the Creator once again. Such wisdom cannot be said to come from nowhere.
Dear Heavenly Father, the source of all love and wisdom, grant wisdom to Your people so that they may effectively witness to those around them who are being misled to believe that love is merely instinct and that wisdom can come from nowhere. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Brownlee, Shannon, 1985, Discover, May, p. 55. ©Creation Moments 2010
“Most species of poison dart frogs are small, sometimes less than 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in) in adult length, although a few are up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in length. They weigh about 2 grams, depending on the size of the frog. Most poison dart frogs are brightly colored, displaying aposematic patterns to warn potential predators. Their bright coloration is associated with their toxicity and levels of alkaloids. Frogs like the ones of Dendrobates species have high levels of alkaloids, whereas the Colostethus species are cryptically colored and are non-toxic. Unlike most other frogs, they are diurnal, rather than being primarily nocturnal or crepuscular. When born and raised in captivity, poison frogs do not produce the skin toxins which they retain in their native habitat.
They lay their eggs in moist places, including on leaves, in plants, among exposed roots, and elsewhere, and allow the tadpoles to wriggle onto their backs shortly after they hatch. They then carry the piggy-backed tadpoles to water, where the larva remain until metamorphosis. The water is typically a pool, but some species use the water gathered in bromeliads or other plants; and some species provide food, supplying the tadpoles with unfertilized eggs to eat.
Many species of poison dart frog are dedicated parents. The red-and-blue poison-arrow frog (Dendrobates pumilio) carry their newly hatched tadpoles into the canopy. The tadpoles stick to the mucus on the back of their parents. Once in the upper reaches of the rainforest trees the parents deposit their young in the pools of water that accumulate in epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. The tadpoles feed on invertebrates in their arboreal nursery and their mother will even supplement their diet by depositing eggs into the water. Other poison frogs lay their eggs on the forest floor, hidden beneath the leaf litter.”