Oophaga solanensis - side view, Utria National Park, Colombia
This very moment shall forever be etched into my memory. Just seeing the photo months after the observation gives me the shivers, for two reasons:
One, the odds that were stacked against us. We had a hard time in our 1.5 days in Utria. Very difficult conditions, incompetent local staff, poor organization. On this 2nd morning and last time block in the park, we had a mere 2 hours to search specifically for the Harlequin poison frog, after that our boat would leave. We heard their calls, and as always our guide Manuel was most active in searching for them, but the search area was huge with piles and piles of dead leafs. After an hour or so in participating in the search, I gave up. I was in a bad mood, but also, I was overheating. The local guide did absolutely nothing to help.
We had long settled that it wasn't going to happen when 5 minutes before our boat would return, Manuel shouted across the forest that he found them. He never gave up, and got rewarded for it. All credit goes to him.
Second, this frog, and specifically this color morph is unbelievable. It is so bright and vibrant that a camera sensor can't capture its details, instead just goes for a single color. And to the human eye, it's as if you see fire itself hopping across the forest floor. I've never seen anything so bright, not in nature, not man-made.
Oophaga solanensis is a poison dart frog in the Oophaga genus. It was split from Oophaga histrionica in 2018.