Evolution in Family Dendrobatidae (Poison Frogs)

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Introduction

The family Dendrobatidae, part of the class Amphibia, and more broadly, the kingdom Animalia, are a group of toxic frogs. These animals are commonly referred to as poison arrow frogs, dart poison frogs, or poison dart frogs.

Frogs within this family are found living in the tropical climates of Central America and the northern portion of South America. They are usually small in size, and are known for their vivid coloration, although there are exceptions to this trait. Their diet consists of ants and mites, which research has suggested are suppliers of the precursor molecules that make up the amphibians toxins. Frogs in this family derive their common name from the Columbian Indian practice of rubbing blow darts on the backs of frogs to coat them in poison for hunting.



Examples of bright coloration found in various species within the Dendrobatidae family. Image source




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Evolution

Coloration and Toxicity
Members of the amphibian family Dendrobatidae are considered to be aposematic, meaning their coloration serves as an adverse warning that protects them from predation. For this notion to be true, it is implied that the frogs’ bright appearance and toxicity would have evolved in parallel. Research conducted by Summers and Clough has, in fact, supported that Dendrobatidae are aposematic.

Self Toxin Resistance
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While species in the family are morphologically very similar to each other, great phenotypic diversity is seen in coloration and patterning. Image source

Microbiome

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Conclusion

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References


Edited by Sydney McCallie, student of Joan Slonczewski for BIOL 116 Information in Living Systems, 2020, Kenyon College.