AmphibiaWeb - Andinobates dorisswansonae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Andinobates dorisswansonae (Rueda-Almonacid, Rada, Sánchez-Pacheco, Velásquez-Álvarez & Quevedo-Gil, 2006)
family: Dendrobatidae
subfamily: Dendrobatinae
genus: Andinobates
Species Description: Rueda-Almonacid, Rada, Sanchez-Pacheco, Velasquez-Alvarez & Quevedo 2006 Two new and exceptional poison dart frogs of the genus Dendrobates (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from the northeastern flank of the Cordillera Central of Colombia. Zootaxa 1259: 39-54
Andinobates dorisswansonae
© 2011 Cristian Gallego (1 of 15)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
CITES Appendix II
National Status None
Regional Status None


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Diagnosis: This species is one of only two known dendrobatids with only four toes visible on the hind feet. Toes I and II are partially or totally fused in Andinobates dorisswansonae. It can be distinguished from the other dendrobatid with four toes, A. daleswansoni, by the following characteristics: coloration (dark brown to black with irregular orange spots in A. doriswansonnae, vs. a red hood on the head, shoulders, and arms, and a brown or reddish brown posterior dorsum in A. daleswansoni); skin texture (completely smooth in A. doriswansonnae, vs. mostly smooth with a few small, flat warts in the sacro-coccigeal region in D. daleswansoni); amount of toe fusion (toes I and II partially or totally fused in A. doriswansonnae, vs. always totally fused in A. daleswansoni); and testes color in males (dark brown in A. doriswansonnae, vs. cream with brown reticulation in A. daleswansoni).

Description: Andinobates dorisswansonae is a small species with a snout-vent length of about 16.8 mm (range: 16.28-17.1 mm) in males and 18.2 mm (range: 17.54-19.43 mm) in females. The head is wider than the body in males but much narrower than the body in females. The snout is rounded when viewed both from above and in profile, with a rounded canthus rostralis and a flattened, vertical, and weakly concave loreal region. No postrictal tubercles are present. Vomerine, maxillary, and premaxillary teeth are not present. The tongue is long (length 2x the width). Eyes are large and prominent, with horizontally elliptical pupils. The tympanum and tympanal ring are oval-shaped and covered by skin in the posterodorsal region, and the supratympanic fold is lacking. The hand is relatively large, with moderately expanded discs on all the digits and paired dorsal pads on the discs. The disc of finger I has a rounded distal edge, while all other finger discs have truncated or undulated distal edges. Hind limbs are relatively short. In this species, the first toe is reduced and partially or totally fused to the second, so that the foot appears to bear only four toes. Toe discs are rounded and slightly wider than the digits, but much smaller than finger discs. Relative length of fingers is III>IV>II>I and of toes is IV>III>V>II. Outer metatarsal tubercle is small, elongated, and protuberant but flattened. Inner metatarsal tubercle is larger and conical. The skin is smooth on the back, belly, and flank. Males have a thinner and slightly smaller body than females, with the head slightly wider than the abdomen. Males can also be distinguished by a wider disc on finger III and the presence of vocal slits.

In life, coloration on the back, throat, chest, and upper belly is dark brown or black with irregular red or yellow-orange blotches. Black or sepia legs may have round, red spots. A bright red band is present over the upper lip, extending from the snout tip to the arm insertion. In preservative, red coloration becomes white, and dark areas may become slightly paler(Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).

This species is syntopic with Andinobates tolimense, but can be distinguished by coloration (brown or dark brown with a metallic yellow-bronze head in A. tolimense) and morphology (toes are completely separate in A. tolimense) (Bernal et. al 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Endemic to Colombia. This species occurs on the eastern slope of the northern Cordillera Central in the Municipality of Falan, Department of Tolima, Colombia, at 1,780 m asl. It has been found only in a single patch of cloud forest less than half a square kilometer. The type locality is a mix of cattle pastures and small patches of forest in agricultural areas, with some areas recovering from logging. A thick layer of leaf litter covers the wet, sandy ground. Precipitation is between 1-2 m per year. There are two rainy seasons, and the area is often covered by a dense fog. Annual temperature ranges from 12-18°C. (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
A. dorisswansonae is a diurnal species found on the forest floor or in bromeliads 1.5-2 m above the ground. Nearby bodies of water are shaded by a 10-15 m high canopy of secondary vegetation with underbrush including heliconias and ferns. Some female specimens were found to contain 5-6 eggs in each ovary. Ova are brown with a diameter of 1.96-2.08 mm. (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).

This species is syntopic with Andinobates tolimense. The two species can be distinguished by coloration and toe number (Bernal et al. 2007).

Trends and Threats
A. dorisswansonae is relatively abundant at the type locality, which is part of Bosques de Florencia National Natural Park (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006), but the area it occupies is very small (less than half a square kilometer). Threats to this species include the loss of its forest habitat from conversion to coffee plantations, logging, and grazing, and illegal collection for the pet trade (Stuart et al. 2008). It is protected under CITES Appendix II, with the 1987 CITES coverage of dendrobatids extended to include this species (described in 2006).

Relation to Humans
A. dorisswansonae species most likely has skin toxins, as do other brightly colored dendrobatids.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)


This species was described by Rueda-Almonacid et al. (2006) as Dendrobates dorisswansoni; the specific epithet was corrected by Frost (Amphibian Species of the World Database).

A. dorisswansonae is named after Doris Swanson, a dedicated conservationist from Spokane, Washington committed to protecting biodiversity in global hotspots such as the Tropical Andes (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006).

It is one of only two dendrobatids to have four toes on the foot due to the fusion of the first toe with the second. In A. dorisswansonae the two toes are partially or totally fused, while in A. daleswansoni the two toes are totally fused. This novel character may lead to the placement of these two species in a new genus in the future (Rueda-Almonacid et al. 2006). In 2011, the genus Dendrobates was subdivided into seven genera, including the new genus Andinobates by Brown et al (2011).


Rueda-Almonacid, J. V., Rada, M., Sánchez-Pacheco, S. J., Velásquez-Álvarez, A. A., and Quevedo-Gil, A. (2006). ''Two new and exceptional poison dart frogs of the genus Dendrobates (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from the northeastern flank of the Cordillera Central of Colombia.'' Zootaxa, 1259, 39-54.

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. [link]

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Originally submitted by: Monique Picon (first posted 2010-09-15)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, taxonomy Michelle S. Koo (2012-01-26)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Andinobates dorisswansonae <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 26, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 May 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.