Strawberry Dart Frog
Oophaga pumilio

The Strawberry Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) is a dart frog of the lowland rainforests of the atlantic versant of Central America from Nicaragua into northern Panama.   They come in a variety of color morphs from solid red to a greenish with yellow spots.  The one pictured above was my first O. pumilio and was seen along the side of a forested road north of Aguas Zarcas, Costa Rica.  We only saw this one in that area I believe because we were higher in elevation.  Later on we climbed down lower and saw hundreds of them.

The frogs we saw were all the "blue jeans" variety which are red with blue legs.  This is the red morph photographed at the zoo in San Jose.

Where I recorded these at the Costa Rica Nature Pavilion near Sarapiqui, they were absurdly abundant.  You had to watch out for them under your feet as you walked the trails.  Almost any leaf you turned on the edge of the trail had one of these little gems under it.  Although they were abundant, they were very uncooperative photo subjects.  They generally hopped away continually, keeping their back to you. I must have tried to photograph 100 of the little buggers to get even any semblance of a shot.

 I got a bit luckier with this one.  It was found sleeping on a green leaf at night and so it didn't move when I tried to photograph it.

Like most Dart Frogs, Oophaga pumilio are active in the day and hop around the forest floor with impunity due to their toxic skin secretions.  They also call during the day.  This recording was made at 10:00am.  The call is an repeated rattled "chi-chi-chi-chi-chi" sound.  To me, it is reminiscent of someone shaking a maraca back and forth.

Oophaga pumilio call

© Chris Harrison 2014

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