Dendrobates tinctorius
Dyeing Poison Frog
family: Dendrobatidae
subfamily: Dendrobatinae

© 2002 Hugo Claessen (1 of 96)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
CITES Appendix II
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



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There are two morphs, one that was formerly known as Dendrobates azureus, and the previously recognized Dendrobates tinctorius. DNA analysis has shown that these forms are conspecific. Following is a description for the morph that was formerly known as Dendrobates azureus: this morph has bright blue-black arms and legs, paler, almost sky-blue and nearly unmarked sides, and a head and back covered with both large and small round spots. The underside is pale blue with round black spots, especially on the breast, and sometimes with a darker midbelly stripe. The oval tympanum is about a third of the eye diameter. Males have noticeably larger finger discs than females.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Its range is restricted to the southernmost portion of Surinam, in relict "forest islands" of the Sipaliwini Savannah.

The forests are humid, always have rocky streams of running water, and are relatively cool, with temperatures dropping up to 22-27 degrees C at night. Dendrobates tinctorius is found under cover, such as rocks and moss, near streams. It usually stays on the ground, but is also found at heights up to 5 m in trees.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Mating behavior starts with the male calling from his position in tree leaves or on the ground. The female is attracted by his calls and strokes the male's snout and back in a typical poison frog courtship sequence. The male then leads the female to his chosen spot, where a clutch of 2-6 eggs are laid, and attended to, in most cases, by the male, but also sometimes by the female. The eggs hatch within 14 to 18 days, and the tadpoles are carried to water pools within bromeliad or other plant leaf axils or crevices by both the female and the male.

This account was adapted from an account for the species previously known as Dendrobates azureus.


Walls, J. G. (1994). Jewels of the Rainforest: Poison Frogs of the Family Dendrobatidae. J.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey.

Wollenberg, K. C., Veith, M., Noonan, B. P., and Lotters, S. (2006). ''Polymorphism versus species richness—systematics of large Dendrobates from the Eastern Guiana Shield (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae).'' Copeia, 2006(4), 623-629.

Written by Franziska Sandmeier (franturtle AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2006-12-29
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2016-06-29)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2016 Dendrobates tinctorius: Dyeing Poison Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 18, 2019.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Feb 2019.

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