Oophaga histrionica has smooth skin, and no tarsal tubercle. The ornosternum is lacking. Individuals exhibit a number of different color patterns, with most being a variation of one to many red, orange, or yellow spots on a black or brown background. The male is usually the same size or larger than the female (Walls 1994).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Ecuador
Its range includes the mostly lowland rainforests (0-300 m) of Colombia and Ecuador, but this species has also (more rarely) been found at elevations over 1100 m (Walls 1994).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The male calls from a low perch, between 0 and 1 meters above the ground, to attract females. Either the male and/or the female leads the way to an egg-laying site, which is not pre-determined by the male. The male often touches the back of the female, and sits on her back on the way to the site. The male and female have a complex courtship ritual, which includes a 2 to 3 hour long sequence of various sitting, bowing (only done by the female), crouching, touching, and circling behaviors. It is thought that the female is the one who carries the tadpoles to water pools in bromeliad or other plant leaf axils or in crevices (Walls 1994).
Females have been observed eating or destroying the eggs in other females' clutches (Duellman and Trueb 1986).
In 2011, the genus Dendrobates was subdivided into seven genera, including the new genus Oophaga by Brown et al (2011).
Brown J.L., Twomey E., Amézquita A., De Souza M.B., Caldwell J.P., Lötters S., Von May R., Melo-Sampaio P.R., Mejía-Vargas D., Perez-Peña P., Pepper M., Poelman E.H., Sanchez-Rodriguez M., and Summers K. (2011). ''A taxonomic revision of the Neotropical poison frog genus Ranitomeya (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae).'' Zootaxa, 3083, 1-120.
Duellman, W. E., and Trueb, L. (1986). Biology of Amphibians. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Walls, J. G. (1994). Jewels of the Rainforest: Poison Frogs of the Family Dendrobatidae. J.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey.
Written by Fran Sandmeier (franturtle AT yahoo.com), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2001-03-21
Edited by Kellie Whittaker, Brent Nguyen (2011-11-09)
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on
amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2015. Berkeley, California:
(Accessed: Oct 9, 2015).
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.