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Acrylic on illustration board
40" x 15"
frogs of the genus Dendrobates are a well-known group of beautiful
and tiny diurnal amphibians found throughout the American tropics.
In addition to producing complex alkaloid skin secretions, this
group is remarkable in exhibiting astonishing parental care within
its ranks. The Central American species D. pumilio deposits
several eggs on a leaf on the forest floor, which are guarded
by the male. Upon hatching, the tadpoles wriggle onto the females
back, and are taxied up the trunk of a tree to a pre-selected
bromeliad, where they are deposited into one of the water vessels
formed within the axils of these arboreal epiphytes. Every few
days, the female lays an unfertilized egg for each of her offspring
to feed upon. Incidental creatures in this painting include an
Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), a Spectacled Antpitta (Hylopezus
perspicallitus), a Racerunner (Ameiva festiva), a
Lanternbug (Fulgora laternaria), a Leaf-Footed Bug (Anisosceles
sp.), a leafhopper (Umbonia sp.), a Consul Butterfly
(Consul fabius), and numerous ants of the genus Pheidole,
which feed upon the leaves of Piper trees, like the one
immediately behind the frog.