If you ask anyone living in the province of Bocas del Toro, to tell you about any Bocatoranian amphibian, most of the answers, if not all, will refer to the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, Oophaga pumilio, or as we call it here, the Red Frog. And that is curious that is here, in Bocas, where we call it only the Red Frog because in the forests of Bocas del Toro there are many morphs or different color patterns of the same frog while in Nicaragua and Costa Rica (the other two countries were you can find Oophaga pumilio) the species has predominantly the same color pattern, with blue color in the hind legs and red covering the rest of their body and they call it the blue jean poison dart frog.
The frog coloration in Bocas del Toro can go from solid bright orange (the one that is found on site at Tranquilo Bay) to green, yellow, brownish and light or dark blue, with so many variations in the presence of dark spots and their size, color of the hind legs, belly color, …. but is here where people call it just the Red Frog.
Today, I will show you a few of the frogs on site at Tranquilo Bay. Next week we will feature a different morph of the Oophaga pumilio each day. The variation in color of just this species is amazing.
Today, I want to talk about an important strategy in nature, called aposematism. Aposematism is the use of a warning coloration, used by creatures to warn predators that they are dangerous and should be avoided. Here are a couple of pictures of aposematic coloration: Larvaes of White-tipped Cycadian Butterfly (Eumaeus godartii), a Poison-dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) and a Coral Snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus). This warning signal is beneficial for the predator and prey in order to recognize and avoid potential harm.