Andinobates tolimensis
family: Dendrobatidae
Species Description: Bernal, M.H., Luna-Mora, V.F., Gallego, O. and Quevedo, A. 2007. A new species of poison frog (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae) from the Andean mountains of Tolima, Colombia. Zootaxa 1638: 59-68.

© 2011 Cristian Gallego (1 of 9)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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The dendrobatid frog Andinobates tolimense is very small with maximum adult SVL ranging from 17.39 to 18.91 mm. The skin is granular on the venter, flanks, dorsum, and dorsal limb surfaces, while on the forelimbs the skin is less granular. Fingers and toes are neither webbed nor fringed. Finger discs are expanded, with the third finger disc in adults being 1.5 to 2 times wider at the distal end than that of the adjacent finger. Toes lack expanded discs. The second finger is longer than the first, and the second toe is also longer than the first toe. This poison frog species is sexually dimorphic. Males can be reliably distinguished by the presence of vocal slits. Males are also smaller in SVL on average, and have a wider disc on the third finger. The testes and eggs are dark brown in color (Bernal et al. 2007).

This frog is brown to dark brown with a metallic yellow-bronze color on the head (particularly the jaw), shoulders, upper back, and proximodorsal surface of the arm; the yellow fades into brown gradually in the posterior body. A dark brown stripe proceeds from the eye through the tympanum, and connects with the insertion of the forelimb. Ventral surfaces are dark brown with or without bluish-green spotting. The iris is dark brown (Bernal et al. 2007).

Andinobates tolimense is syntopic with Andinobates dorisswansonae, but distinguishable by color and toe morphology. In contrast to the dark brown/metallic yellow-bronze coloration of A. tolimense, A. dorisswansonae is dark brown to black with irregular red spots. In addition, Andinobates tolimense lacks fused toes, whereas A. dorisswansonae has partially or completely fused toes I and II (Bernal et al. 2007).

Andinobates tolimense tadpoles are dark brown and globular in shape when viewed dorsally, and have lighter, translucent venters. The head and body are depressed, much wider than deep. At stage 25, a tadpole collected from the adult male's back measured 4.4 mm in head-body length and 13.1 mm in total length,with a tail length of 8.7 mm. Eyes and nostrils are placed dorsally and oriented in a dorsolateral direction. The larval mouth is anteroventrally placed and has a massive, serrated beak. The oral disc has a lateral indentation, with a wide median gap on the posterior edge. The spiracle is sinistral while the vent is dextral. The tail tip is rounded and relatively transparent (Bernal et al. 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia


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Andinobates tolimense is known only from the eastern flank of Cordillera Central, Municipio de Falan, Departmento de Tolima, Colombia at an elevation of 1852 m ASL (Bernal et al. 2007).

This species was found in a small patch of dense secondary cloud forest with trees of 4 to 6 m in maximum height. Trees here are covered in epiphytic plants, primarily of the families Orchidaceae, Bromeliaceae, and Araceae. There is considerable cover on the forest floor, from fallen tree branches and trunks bearing lichens, mosses, and fungi, as well as from leaf litter. The vegetation also includes tree ferns, palms, and smaller trees (Bernal et al. 2007). Mean temperature is about 19 degrees C (Gallego 2003, cited in Bernal et al. 2007). Annual precipitation is between 2500–3000 mm per year (Gallego, 2003, cited in Bernal et al. 2007).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Calls occur in a series of short, soft buzzes (each lasting 0.84-0.99 seconds), like cricket sounds and similar to calls made by A. dorisswansonae, but softer. The call is pulsed and has a dominant frequency of 4.73-5.22 kHz as recorded in captivity (Bernal et al. 2007).

Males exhibit parental care, like many dendrobatids, and a male was observed transporting a single tadpole on his back. The male frog was reported to secrete a milky substance over his body when captured (Bernal et al. 2007).

Trends and Threats
This species is able to exist in small patches of secondary forest, as the area surrounding the locality where it was found has coffee plantations. However, the coffee plantations seem unlikely to be suitable habitat (Bernal et al. 2007), and the species may thus have a very restricted range.

Relation to Humans
Andinobates tolimense most likely has skin toxins, as with other brightly colored dendrobatids.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation


The species name means “from Tolima”, referring to the department of Colombia where it is found (Bernal et al. 2007).

Because of a possible larval synapomorphy (the presence of a wide median gap in the fringing papillae on the posterior edge of the oral disc) A. tolimense is hypothesized to be a member of the monophyletic Andean dendrobatid clade, along with A. abdita, A. bombetes, A. opisthomelas, and A. virolinensis (Bernal et al. 2007).

In 2011, the genus Dendrobates was subdivided into seven genera, including the genus Andinobates by Brown et al (2011).


Bernal, M. H., Luna-Mora, V. F., Gallego, O., and Quevedo, A. (2007). ''A new species of poison frog (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae) from the Andean mountains of Tolima, Colombia.'' Zootaxa, 1638, 59-68.

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.

Gallego, O. (2003). ''Distribución ecológica de la herpetofauna del Municipio de Falan, Tolima. Popayan-Cauca 2003. Trabajo de Grado (Ecólogo).'' Fundacion Universitaria de Popayán.

Written by Vanessa Lovenburg (lovenburg AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2008-05-13
Edited by Michelle S. Koo (2011-10-30)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2011 Andinobates tolimensis <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 27, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 27 Jun 2017.

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