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Species of the Week
Oophaga pumilio | Strawberry Poison Frog

Amphibian News
What happens when diverging subpopulations of more brightly colored members come into contact with less colorful ones? If preference is driven by either sexual selection, or natural selection, or both, we expect to see the two populations merge. Segami Marzal et al. (2017) tested this hypothesis in a poison frog (Oophaga pumilio) where populations of aposematic (bright) and cryptic (dull) morphs come into contact in Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. Using photos of the frogs, they trained chickens to peck at cryptic frogs for a reward. Their subsequent experiments showed that cryptic frog morphs were more likely to be discovered and pecked when they occurred near a brightly colored, aposematic morph. Thus, females of a cryptic morph might suffer a higher risk of attack when approaching a brightly colored male; this could directly select against female preferences for such males and hence reduce interbreeding between morphs, ultimately enhancing the probability of population divergence and speciation.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,639 (Feb 24, 2017) Newly added species