Rocket Frog: An Atypical Dendrobatid

20mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

If like me you associate poison dart frogs with bright colors, then you might be as surprised as I was to learn that this rather drab frog is also a member of that family, Dendrobatidae.

Not surprisingly, this frog and other members of the genus Colostethus lack the skin toxins that some other members of the family have. No wonder they try to blend in, especially given their diurnal lifestyle.

Colostethus species also differ from other dendrobatids in their association with moving water instead of standing water. Their common name, rocket frogs, refers to their habit of quickly leaping into streams and then drifting away. This one was in fact next to a small stream, but obligingly stayed put.

Three species of Colostethus occur in Costa Rica. After consulting several sources, it’s unclear to me which one this might be. My best guess would be C. talamancae because of the lack of an oblique lateral stripe and the presence of dark bands on the hind legs. The two other possibilities are C. flotator and C. nubicola.

Stay tuned in the coming days for some pics of this frog’s more colorful family members.


[Google books link to Colostethus text]


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3 Responses to Rocket Frog: An Atypical Dendrobatid

  1. Pingback: Green and Black Poison Dart Frog : Nature Closeups

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