Happy Greenfest day! OK, it's not a national holiday, but I did just get back from Greenfest. Green Fest is a huge festival sporting eco-friendly organic everything. Yes, I mean everything; I have seen organic food, environmentally-sound flooring, and even paper made from elephant dung there. If you want to keep places with awesome wildlife alive, go there next year!
That is why today's creature is a frog. Contrary to popular belief, pandas are not the best mascots for the environment; that honor should go to our amphibian friends, such as Dendrobates azureus. Since amphibians (especially frogs) have highly permeable skin and are vital to many ecosystems, they have been viewed worldwide as a gauge of environmental health. Not only are species like azureus up there visually appealing and vocal, they help keep insect populations down and provide food for many other animals. No frogs in an area (OK, besides Antarctica) means that something is very, very wrong.
This little blue frog, like most poison dart frogs, resides in the forests of South America (namely, Brazil and Suriname). This is not the big Amazon basin that everyone and their mother is worried about, but the species is nonetheless listed as 'vulnerable.' It would be a shame to lose such a cool-looking frog!
On that note, not all poison dart frogs are created equal. Though azureus is still poisonous, dart frogs of the genus Phyllobates are the ones commonly used to make poisonous arrows. Azureus is one of the easier species of frog to keep as a pet despite its toxicity. Moreover, the sexes differ physically; female blue dart frogs are bigger than males, but the men of the species have larger, heart-shaped toes.
Now, if this little froggie gave you a sense of deja vu...you have probably seen it before:
Perhaps deja vuze would have been a better term.
Tomorrow's animal will be far less spur-of-the-moment. I have a rant waiting to happen thanks to the festival.