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Frog Fake-Out: Gallery of Real & Decoy Amphibians

Poison Dart Frog

R. imitator, a poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

R. imitator, a species of poison dart frog found in Peru, warns predators of its toxicity with a colorful giraffe-like pattern.

Striped Poison Dart Frog

R. imitator, a poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

In nearby regions, the same species of frog sports yellow stripes rather than yellow-green squiggles.

Mock Frog

A fake R. imitator poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

Researchers made fake frogs out of clay and painted them to mimic R. imitator patterns. This fake frog shows evidence of a predator attack.

Fake Frog on a Leaf

Decoy R. imitator poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

Real or fake? Predators had trouble telling that this frog was made of clay.

When Predators Attack

Decoy R. imitator poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

The aftermath of an attack on a decoy frog.

Attacked Frog

A fake frog shows predation marks.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

A brown frog designed to look like a non-toxic species shows signs of attack.

Frog Bite

Decoy R. imitator poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

Even a failed attack would be deadly to a real frog.

Froggy Colors

R. imitator, a poison dart frog.

(Image credit: Mathieu Chouteau, Université de Montréal)

These poison dart frogs evolved their colors hyper-locally, with warning signals that stave off only predators in their neighborhoods.