Appearance''D. tinctorius "azureus"'' is a medium-sized frog that weighs about 8 grams and grows to 3.0-4.5 cm in length. Females are larger and about half a centimeter longer than males, but males have larger toes. The frog has a typical lifespan of five to seven years in the wild. Its bright blue skin, usually darker around its limbs and stomach, serves as a warning to predators. The glands of poisonous alkaloids located in the skin serve as a defense mechanism to potential predators. These poisons paralyze and sometimes kill the predator. The black spots are unique to each frog, enabling individuals to be identified. This species of frog has a distinctive hunch-backed posture.
Each foot contains four toes, which each have a flattened tip with a suction cup pad used for gripping. The tips of the toes in females are round, while males have heart-shaped tips.
As with almost all frogs, tadpoles differ greatly in appearance from adults. They have a long tail, about 6 mm, with a total length of about 10 mm. They lack legs and have gills instead of lungs.
Behavior''Dendrobates tinctorius'' is a mainland animal, but stays close to water sources. These frogs spend most of their awake time, during the day, hopping around in short leaps. They are very territorial and aggressive both towards their own species and others. To ward off intruders, they use a series of calls, chases, and wrestling, which usually occurs within the same sex.
Although poison dart frogs are known for their skin toxins, used on the tips of arrows or darts of natives, in reality only the species of the ''Phyllobates'' genus are used in this manner. In captivity, the frogs lose toxicity as a result of altered diets.
ReproductionThe blue poison dart frog breeds seasonally, usually during February or March when it is rainy. To find mates the males sit on a rock and produce quiet calls, which the females follow to track down the males. The females then physically fight over a male. The male takes the female to a quiet place by water, which becomes the site of the egg-laying. Fertilisation occurs externally: once the eggs are laid the male will cover them in his sperm.
Between five and ten offspring are produced at each mating. Eggs are laid in the male’s territory, which he defends. The male takes care of the eggs, sometimes joined by the female. The eggs hatch after 14 to 18 days, and after 10 to 12 weeks the tadpoles are fully mature. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at two years of age. The expected lifespan of ''D. tinctorius "azureus"'' is between four and six years in the wild, and about ten years in captivity.
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