Quirky News

  • 19 May 2010, 12:48

Tiny but deadly rare frogs bred in UK

A Hampshire aquarium is celebrating after successfully breeding one of the most dangerous amphibians on Earth.

Phantasmal poison frogs, which can kill anybody who merely touches them, have skin 200 times more toxic than morphine.

The frogs, found on the western slopes of the Andes in Ecuador, South America, are so rare they are in danger of becoming extinct.

But 26 have now been born at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth, after a successful breeding program.

When they reach adulthood, the frogs measure just 1cm and turn bright red in colour with three green fluorescent stripes on their back.

Aquarium spokeswoman Jenna MacFarlane said: "These beautiful frogs are under increasing threat in the wild due to loss of habitat and pollution and we are delighted to have been able to breed them successfully here.

"It's imperative we are able to mimic exactly their wild environment in order for the species to thrive in captivity and it's a real achievement they are breeding so successfully.

"They've passed the critical stage of development from tadpoles into froglets and they now look like perfect miniature replicas of their parents."

Ms McFarlane added: "Despite their deadly status, it is hoped that the phantasmal poison frog could one day help save lives.

"Scientists have discovered that an extract from the skin of the phantasmal poison frog Epipedrobates tricolor can block pain 200 times more effectively than morphine, and without addiction and other serious side effects."