There’s a species of poison frog called the “strawberry poison frog” or the “blue jeans frog,” depending on who you ask.
There’s a species of poison frog called the “strawberry poison frog” or the “blue jeans frog,” depending on who you ask. These frogs are smaller than a quarter, with bright red bodies and navy blue limbs, and they live in shady Costa Rican forests. Or, they did, until humans began cutting the forests to create farmland. These sunny fields and pastures are hotter and drier than the forests, and scientists wanted to know how the strawberry frogs were adapting to their new environment. To figure it out, the researchers built mini temperature-controlled frog habitats to see what temperatures the frogs gravitated towards. They discovered that frogs from sunny pastures tend to seek out higher temperatures than their forest friends—but the ceiling for temperatures they can survive hasn’t changed.
The project was led by two students working on NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates, first author Juana Rivera-Ordonez (University of Washington) and Adrian Manansala (University of Guam), and their mentors, Justin Nowakowski (University of California, Davis) and Michelle Thompson (Field Museum). The research overseen by senior author Brian Todd of UC Davis.
“We’re trying to understand what happens to species when we transform forests for human land uses,” Nowakowski, one of the corresponding authors of a paper on the project in the journal Biotropica. “For this study, we were trying to understand how strawberry poison frogs that live in these converted pastures handle warmer temperatures in these land uses compared to individuals that live in the forest.”
Read more at Field Museum
Image: A strawberry poison frog (aka bluejeans frog), the subject of this study. (Credit: (c) Michelle Thompson, Field Museum)