AQUARIUM’S NEW BUMBLEBEES WITH A STING IN THE TALE

Bristol Aquarium is looking after a quartet of potentially deadly bumblebees.

The bumblebees in question are a type of South American poison dart frog which are part of a captive breeding programme at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire.

The tiny amphibians are settling in to their new home at the Harbourside wildlife attraction where keepers are hoping they will help to create a satellite breeding population for the species.

Bristol Aquarium curator, Dan de Castro, said: “Although they are really small, these frogs are potentially highly dangerous.

“They get their name from the beautiful markings which resemble those of a bee and make them one of the most colourful of the poison dart frogs.

“We have put them on display in our themed Amazon area alongside a selection of other South American amphibians, reptiles and insects.

“If all goes well we hope they will begin to breed later this year,” he added.

Coloured black with yellow stripes on their head, back and legs, the bumblebee frog ranges from just one to five centimetres in length.

Despite their diminutive dimensions they can produce a special skin secretion that serves as a highly potent nerve toxin.

Their brightly-coloured bodies act as a warning to potential predators that they will make an unpalatable or toxic meal.

Indigenous people of Central and South America have been using the poison from these frogs to coat their darts, which they use to catch birds and rodents.

Recently research scientists have discovered the skin toxins have potentially beneficial pharmacological properties.

Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews, picture or filming opportunities please contact David Waines or Tina Patel on 0117 934 0944 or Dan de Castro or Juan Iraola on 0117 935 0943.