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 Spot-Bellied Dart Frog (1999)
(Dendrobates ventrimaculatus)

Giclée prints available
$75 unframed 7" x 7"
$145 framed 15 1/2" x 15"
250 s/n plus 20 A/P

 Family Dendrobatidae -- the poison dart frogs

In the American tropics lives a group of small, diurnal frogs named for the alkaloid skin secretions protecting most species. In some members, especially Phyllobates terribilis, these toxins are highly potent and are reputedly used by Chocó Indians in Colombia to treat hunting darts. To date well over a hundred species have been placed in the three genera comprising the Dendrobatidae. Despite their tiny size (the largest species barely reaches two inches in length) their brilliant coloration makes most species conspicuous as they spring about the forest floor, actively searching out the ants that make up the bulk of their diet. Dendrobatids lay their eggs on land, where they are guarded by an adult, most frequently the male, who carries the newly hatched tadpoles to water.

 Spot-Bellied Dart Frog (Dendrobates ventrimaculatus)

In the jungle of the upper Amazon basin the poison frog genus Dentrobates is represented by a complex of red or yellow and black frogs currently classified as one, two or three species, but the systematics of this group are confusing, and could very nicely stand revision. Despite the variety exhibited in both color patterns and sundry nuances in their buzzing calls, the habits of this complex don't appear to vary greatly. Two or three eggs are usually deposited on land and guarded by an adult. Upon hatching, the tadpoles wriggle onto the attendant parent's back, to be hauled up a tree trunk and deposited into bromeliad vacuoles, where they are left to develop. The female regularly lays an infertile egg for each tadpole to eat. Unlike some other dendrobatid species, the D. ventrimaculatus tadpole is not an exclusive egg feeder, but also eats algae and mosquito larvae. The form depicted in this piece was given species status and named D. duellmani after William Duellman in 1999.