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Cute Colorful Poison Dart Frogs and Their Mimics

They might be colorful. They might be cute to some people. But don’t let that fool you. These bright colored frogs are poisonous. Dr. Biology talks with biologist Molly Cummings to learn about her work with some frogs that advertise to predators to stay away and other frogs that take advantage of this signal by copying the colors of their poisonous cousins.

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 14MB

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Topic Time
Introduction. 00:00
Poison dart frogs. 01:24
Don't touch these frogs. 01:48
Why are there different colored frogs of the same species? 02:08
Three frog mimicry system. 02:51
Mimicry system: chicken behavior experiment. 03:50
Predators learning to avoid colors. 04:29
Evolution of different colors. 04:44
What can drive this change in color? 05:13
Can color vision affect evolution of color? 05:41
Sexual selection affects color. 06:22
How brightness and color are related. 06:50
Sexual selection vs. natural selection. 07:38
What colors do the frogs see? 08:01
Day vs. night vision. 09:08
Night vision and color vision. 10:04
Why poison dart frogs? 10:54
How to catch poison dart frogs. 11:25
Are these frogs active at night? 12:08
Is there a more popular color among these frogs? 12:26
Do different colored frogs mate with each other? 13:50
Do you travel often for your research? 14:15
Revisiting the three frog mimicry system. 14:51
More on chicken behavior experiments. 16:17
Scarab beetle research. 17:34
Scarab beetles and Avatar. 18:13
Polarized light. 19:03
Beetles and polarized light. 20:29
The early days of stereo images. 22:13
Three questions. 23:06
When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 23:16
What would you do if you couldn't be a scientist or teacher? 24:25
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a scientist? 25:21
What's your math background and how do you use math? 26:12
Sign-off 27:49

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Cute Colorful Poison Dart Frogs and Their Mimics

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

Poison Dart Frog

Look, but don't touch or eat me is what this colorful poison dart frog (Oophaga pumilo) is signalling. Photo by Martine Maan.

Learn more about mimic poison frogs in our story - Colorful Copycat Frogs of Peru.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Poison Dart Frog

Look, but don't touch or eat me is what this colorful poison dart frog (Oophaga pumilo) is signalling. Photo by Martine Maan.

Learn more about mimic poison frogs in our story - Colorful Copycat Frogs of Peru.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.