Why do poison dart frogs have such bright colors?

D. lehmanni, D. azureus and E. tricolor


Poison dart frogs are brightly colored, unlike most other kinds of frogs.

They come in bright bold colors, from hot yellow, bright orange and strawberry red to deep blue-purple and green.

Some poison dart frogs have brightly-colored stripes or spots or splotches. Others have many tiny spots or flecks. But some are a solid color. Even within a single species the colors may vary a lot.

Poison dart frogs are brightly colored to warn others that they are dangerous and poisonous to eat. This is called aposematic coloration. Other animals learn that the bright colors mean danger and so they leave the frogs alone. Aposematic colors usually involve red, orange or yellow.

Poison dart frogs also use their bright colors to defend their territory from other males.


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