Dendrobates auratus (Dendrobatidae), the Green and Black Poison Frog, is a diurnal terrestrial frog from Central America and adjacent South America, with toxic skin secretions that contain many alkaloids.
These alkaloids are diet-derived, with ants and mites being the main sources of toxic compounds identified so far. Alkaloidal skin secretions are thought to protect these frogs from predation, and also their aposematic coloration (warning coloration).
However, the coloration of Dendrobates auratus does not protect so much the frog of one of their predators, a theraphosid spider, the Panama red rump tarantula (Sericopelma rubronitens), as this spider is a non-visual hunter who uses substrate vibrations to detect potential preys, and uses its chemoreceptors on its legs and pedipalps to “taste” the frog. It seems that the Panama red rump tarantulas reject distasteful frogs only when they produce high amounts of skin secretions. So in the case of S. rubronitens, the bold green and brown patterns of D. auratus are unlikely to serve as a warning of distastefulness.
Was this taken in captivity? What’s this frog doing in Hawaii?
Although Dendrobates auratus is native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, in the 1930s and 1940s the species was introduced into the Manoa Valley of Oahu (Hawaii) as a form of mosquito control. Currently it appears that these frogs are fairly common there, and there are still many mosquitoes.