Habitat''P. aurotaenia'' is found in the wet forests of the Choco region of Colombia, west of the Andes, in the Atrato and San Juan drainages. It lives on the ground of humid lowland and submontane forests, typically between altitudes of 60 and 520 meters, and is found in primary and secondary forest but not in degraded areas.
As a vivarium subject, this frog is an active animal that will make use of vertical space. Kokoe dart frogs are highly social frogs that require high humidity, cool temperatures, and larger prey items than many dart frogs.
Defense''P. aurotaenia'' is one of the most lethal species of the poison dart frogs, which is attributed to their storage and release of batrachotoxin from cutaneous granular glands scattered throughout the frogs’ bodies. This extremely potent toxin is a steroidal alkaloid which, in mammals, acts by irreversibly binding to and permanently opening sodium ion channels within nerve and muscle cells. This prevents repolarization of the cell membrane and halts further signaling, resulting in paralysis and often death as any affected muscle becomes locked in the contracted state. In order to avoid self-intoxication the frogs have developed modified sodium channels to prevent the binding of batrachotoxin.
Although wild frogs are extremely deadly, frogs raised in captivity are generally non-toxic. It has therefore been proposed that the frogs do not synthesize batrachotoxin themselves, but it is instead obtained from their environment. Evidence suggests that the frogs accumulate this toxin through their diet of various beetles , millipedes, and flies as well as the unique composition of leaf litter on the forest floor.
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