Poison dart frog’s sensitivity to pollution

Now more than ever, we need to be conscious of how we treat our environment. When we pollute the environment, it negatively affects other creatures and can drive many to extinction. But how do we know how bad the pollution is? Data shows that Poison Dart frogs are a key indicator in the Amazon to detect pollution. A key indicator species is a creature that is either very sensitive to elements of the environment.

This image is showing what a poison dart frog looks like.
This poison dart frog lives in the Amazon. Photo by: Jim Liestman

What is a poison dart frog?

A poison dart frog is an amphibian, a frog to be exact. This frog is about the size of a quarter in diameter, including their legs and about as tall as a penny. They come in many different colors and patterns. Most of them have very bright colors, splotched in with black. 

They commonly live in rainforests in South America. Since they live in a rainforest, this can be very alarming. Why is it alarming you may ask? Because trees are a natural filter to reduce pollution. If a large rainforest cannot filter out enough of the pollution in the environment, then that means there is an extremely large amount of pollution present.

This is a photo of the rainforest habitat that the poison dart frog lives in. Slimy water trickles down a narrow stream, bordered with mossy rocks and ferns. On the stream live a plethora of insects like flies and other winged insects. A slight waterfall is formed along the river's path, splashing noiselessly down the rocks.
This rainforest is typical for the habitat of the poison dart frog. Photo by: Martin Howard

Why poison dart frogs?

Poison dart frogs have been shown to be going extinct. The scientists and experts say their widespread deaths could be an indication of massive amounts of pollution. The rainforest is the second largest oxygen producer in the world. Tadpoles eat extremely large amounts of algae, which would cause lake atrophy (dead lake) if the algae overproduce. It is also a large indication of world over pollution when the areas not being directly polluted are dying of pollution. If those areas are bad, then the areas around the pollution are worse.

Poison dart frogs are able to be key indicators for pollution because they:

  • Have semi-permeable skin, pollution is absorbed easily
  • Live in water. Any pollution that water droplets may pick up on their way down the canopy will be deposited in the water reservoirs that these frogs live in
  • Have a large surface area to body size ratio
  • Has distinct social behavior that can be changed by elements of their environment, such as their mating cycles changing due to the temperature change of global warming

How do I reduce the amount of pollution I produce?

Here are some ways to pollute less:

  1. Use less plastics, try using reusable water bottles when possible
  2. Try to use less manufactured goods. The pollution from companies and industries will decrease when their sales decrease. Instead, also try switching to brands that are know to pollute less
  3. Ride-share. Instead of driving by yourself, consider taking the bus or carpooling with several co-workers, classmates, or friends
  4. Turn off lights and electronics when you are not using them

Photos are from creative commons. No copywrite infringement intended. All ownership of photos go to their respectful owners. The author of the blog assumes no ownership over any of the used images.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu