Harlequin poison frog

Oophaga histrionica

The harlequin poison frog, also known as harlequin poison-dart frog , is a species of poison dart frog endemic to the El Chocó region of western Colombia. The frog is normally found on the ground of tropical rain forests, among fallen limbs or leaf litter.
Harlequin poison frog, red morph - side view II, 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.

Unforgettable.  Choco,Chocó,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Harlequin poison frog,Oophaga histrionica,South America,Utria National Natural Park,Utría National Natural Park,World

Appearance

The harlequin poison frog has a variety of color morphs, which differ from one valley to the next in its native range. The base color is a bright orange, with a webbing of black over the entire body. Of the color morphs, the base color may be of clear to dull orange, yellow, red, white, or blue. The web pattern varies from small lines to big lines or speckled, incomplete lines, or a completely black frog with just a few spots. The various color morphs can be found in surprisingly close proximity, with different populations on adjacent hillsides. The Bilsa Biological Station boasts three color morphs—red, yellow, and orange—within their 3000-ha protected area located within Ecuador's Mache and Chindul coastal mountain ranges.
Harlequin poison frog, red morph - full body shot - II, 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.

Unforgettable. Choco,Chocó,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Harlequin poison frog,Oophaga histrionica,South America,Utria National Natural Park,Utría National Natural Park,World

Status

The IUCN has listed this species as being of "Least Concern" because its range is large and it is a relatively common and adaptable species, able to live in disturbed habitats. Nevertheless, there is ongoing destruction of its rainforest habitat and its numbers seem to be declining but this seems to be at a level unlikely to be fast enough to justify listing it in a more threatened category.
Harlequin poison frog, red morph, 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.

Unforgettable. And just like that, all our petty complaints were washed away and forgotten.

No contrast or saturation tricks on these photos, this species is truly this bright and contrasty.

This photo shows that we found two individuals, one blurry in the background:
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/57927/harlequin_poison_frog_red_morph_-_duo_utria_national_park_colombia.html
Full body shots:

https://www.jungledragon.com/image/57928/harlequin_poison_frog_red_morph_-_full_body_shot_utria_national_park_colombia.html
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/57929/harlequin_poison_frog_red_morph_-_full_body_shot_-_ii_utria_national_park_colombia.html

Side views:

https://www.jungledragon.com/image/57930/harlequin_poison_frog_red_morph_-_side_view_utria_national_park_colombia.html
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/57931/harlequin_poison_frog_red_morph_-_side_view_ii_utria_national_park_colombia.html Choco,Chocó,Colombia,Colombia Choco & Pacific region,Harlequin poison frog,Oophaga histrionica,South America,Utria National Natural Park,Utría National Natural Park,World

Evolution

The harlequin poison frog lives on the forest floor. The male calls from a low perch to advertise his presence and the female lays eggs among the leaf litter. When the eggs hatch, a parent transports the newly hatched tadpoles to a tiny water reservoir . The mother returns periodically and lays unfertilized eggs, on which the tadpoles feed until ready to metamorphose and exit the water. The larva is an obligate egg-feeder and will starve without this form of nutrition.

This rearing behavior makes harlequins among the most difficult poison dart frogs to raise in captivity. As a result, they are not widely found on the domestic pet market, and those available may be illegally smuggled imports rather than legally bred domestic animals. Wild-caught dart frogs are often stressed, require more care, have a much higher fatality rate, and may also be toxic and dangerous to handle. A few domestically bred animals are nevertheless available, and are highly sought-after in the pet trade.

References:

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAmphibia
OrderAnura
FamilyDendrobatidae
GenusOophaga
SpeciesO. histrionica
Photographed in
Colombia