AmphibiaWeb - Aromobates nocturnus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Aromobates nocturnus Myers, Paolillo-O. & Daly, 1991
Venezuelean Skunk Frog
family: Aromobatidae
genus: Aromobates
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Aromobates nocturnus is a relatively large aromobatid, with females reaching 62 mm. This frog can be identified mainly by the noxious substance that they secrete, which gives off odor similar to a skunk. This noxious odor acts as a defense against predation. Dorsally this frog is green, with yellow dots present in a straight line above the belly. The hind feet are webbed (Caldwell and Summers 2003).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Venezuela

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This species is known only from a single locality in northwestern Venezuela. It inhabits an area with small streams and rivulets in thick Andean cloud forest, at 2250 m above sea level (Caldwell and Summers 2003).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Aromobates nocturnus is both nocturnal and aquatic. This frog has been found only in streams, sitting or swimming in the water. The diet is thought to consist of small insects and arthropods. No information has yet been collected on the calls or reproductive aspects of this species. The common name derives from the noxious odor produced by this frog when it is handled, similar to the odor of a skunk. The skin secretion which emits the odor is neither toxic nor an alkaloid (Caldwell and Summers 2003).

This species was first described by Myers et al.(1991). Phylogenetically, it is one of the most basal members of the poison frog family Aromobatidae. Aromobates nocturnus is the only known nocturnal aromobatid (all others are diurnal), and the only known aquatic aromobatid (all others are terrestrial).


Caldwell, J. P., and Summers, K. D. (2003). ''Venezuelan skunk frog, Aromobates nocturnus.'' Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Volume 6, Amphibians. 2nd edition. M. Hutchins, W. E. Duellman, and N. Schlager, eds., Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Myers, C. W., Alfredo, P. O., and Daly, J. W. (1991). ''Discovery of a malodorous and nocturnal frog in the family Dendrobatidae: phylogenetic significance of a new genus and species from the Venezuelan Andes.'' American Museum Novitates, 3002, 1-20.

Originally submitted by: Peera Chantasirivisal (first posted 2005-11-09)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2008-01-18)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Aromobates nocturnus: Venezuelean Skunk Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 18, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Jun 2024.

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