AmphibiaWeb - Ranitomeya toraro
Ranitomeya toraro Brown, Caldwell, Twomey, Melo-Sampaio & Souza, 2011
family: Dendrobatidae
subfamily: Dendrobatinae
genus: Ranitomeya
Species Description: Brown JL, Twomey E, Amezquita A, De Souza MB, Caldwell JP, Loetters S, Von May R, Melo-Sampaio PR, Mejia-Vargas D, Perez-Pena P, Pepper M, Poelman EH, Sanchez-Rodriguez M, Summers K. 2011. A taxonomic revision of the Neotropical poison frog genus Ranitomeya (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae). Zootaxa 3083: 1-120.

© 2015 Paulo Roberto Melo-Sampaio (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
CITES Appendix II
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Ranitomeya toraro is a frog with a snout-vent length of 15 - 17 mm. Finger 1 is reduced and there are expanded finger discs on Fingers 2 - 4. The legs are of moderate length with the femur and tibia being almost equal in length. The toes have moderately expanded discs but no webbing. All digits have dorsal scutes (Brown et al. 2011).

Tadpoles are oval (Brown et al. 2011).

Although R. toraro has stripes similar to others in the genus, its stripes are thinner, and the middorsal stripe widens anteriorly. Their complete dorsolateral and middorsal stripes differentiate them from R. flavovittata and R. defleri (Brown et al. 2011).

Ranitomeya toraro tadpoles can be distinguished from R. ventrimaculata and R. amazonica by the number of posterior keratodont rows; the former has two posterior keratodont rows while the latter have three (Grant et al. 2017).

Ranitomeya toraro have a black head and body with two thin yellow dorsolateral stripes that are complete and extend from the eyelids to the vent. There is also a middorsal that extends from the vent to the snout. On the posterior portion, the middorsal stripe is light yellow or blue but becomes yellow on the head. At the head, the middorsal stripe splits and widens anterior to the eyes, forming a downturned “U”-shape on the tip of their snout. The middorsal stripe may be incomplete after the split, on the snout, and does not connect with the labial stripe. There is also a yellow spot on the tip of the snout. There is also a ventrolateral stripe that is light to greenish blue at the axilla and becomes yellow at the groin. The chin is yellow and has two black gular spots along with a spot in the center that can be irregular in some individuals. The ventrum and both the dorsal and ventral surfaces limbs are black with a vibrant to pale blue netting pattern that creates black ovals (Brown et al. 2011).

Tadpoles, early in development, are gray with irregular yellow markings (Brown et al. 2011).

Compared to other species in this genus, R. toraro has relatively little morphological variation across its range. Females in this species are slightly larger than males. Pattern and coloration were consistent across specimens, but there were some minor variations that corresponded with sampling location. Specimens from the Autaze locality had no breaks in the middorsal stripe, while some frogs from the Ituxi locality had breaks on one or both arms of the bifurcation of the middorsal stripe (Brown et al. 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Ranitomeya toraro is found in southeastern Columbia, southwestern Brazil, and throughout the Amazon River Basin. They prefer undisturbed secondary growth forests, primary forests, and are found within leaf litter or on above-ground leaves and logs that vary from 20 - 35 meters (Brown et al. 2011).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Ranitomeya toraro does make a call, but the sound, frequency, pulse rate, and duration are not reported (Brown et al. 2011).

The Ranitomeya genus is known to be phytotelma breeders (Summers and Tumulty 2014). The females lay small clutches of one to two eggs about 5 - 20 cm above water bodies in terrestrial plants (Brown et al. 2011).

It is hypothesized that male poison frogs who display parental care for their offspring are also territorial of tadpole sites (Summer and Tumulty 2014).

In general poison frog tadpoles are subject to predation by larger sit-and-wait insects and smaller active insects like the diving beetle (Summers and Tumulty 2014).

Trends and Threats
As of 2022, the IUCN Red List had not assessed R. toraro. However, the species was previously grouped with R. ventrimaculata, which has a stable population trend (IUCN 2021). It is recommended that R. toraro be listed as a species of “Least Concern”, but deforestation of primary forests in Brazil is considered a threat (Brown et al. 2011).

This species has a large geographic range including forests in Madeira and upper Juruá (Brown et al. 2011). In upper Juruá, the Serra do Divisor National Park protects a large proportion of amphibian diversity (Fonseca et al. 2019).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities


Phylogenetic relationships in the Ranitomeya genus have been challenging to disentangle (Muell et al. 2022). Initial phylogenetic studies, using mtDNA and nDNA sequences indicated that R. toraro was sister to R. defleri (Brown et al. 2011, Grant et al. 2017). However, more recent Maximum Likelihood analyses of ultraconservative elements (genetic markers) and morphology indicate that R. toraro is sister to the clade composed of R. delferi, the R. reticulate group, and the R. variabilis group, with R. delferi being sister to the R. reticulate group (Muell et al. 2017).

This species has been represented in specimen collections as far back as 1911, but was initially included in R. ventrimaculata until phylogenetic and morphological studies identified it as a separate species 100 years later (Brown et al. 2011).

The species epithet, “toraro” comes from the Apuriña word, “to ‘raro”, which means “frog”. This language was chosen as the center of the R. toraro range is in the lands of indiginous Apuriña tribe (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. [link]

Fonseca, W. L., da Silva, J.D, Abegg, A.D., da Rosa, C.M, Bernarde, P.S. (2019). “Herpetofauna of Porto Walter and surrounding areas, Southwest Amazonia, Brazil.” Herpetology Notes, 12, 91-107. [link]

Grant, T., M. Rada, M. A. Anganoy-Criollo, A. Batista, P. H. dos S. Dias, A. M. Jeckel, D. J. Machado, and J. V. Rueda-Almonacid (2017). ''Phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives revisited (Anura: Dendrobatoidea).'' South American Journal of Herpetology, 12 (specia, 1-90. [link]

IUCN. (2021). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-3. Accessed on [18/02/2022].

Muell, M. R., Chávez, G., Prates, I., Guillory, W. X., Kahn, T. R., Twomey, E. M., Rodrigues, M. T., Brown, J. L. (2022). “Phylogenomic analysis of evolutionary relationships in Ranitomeya poison frogs (Family Dendrobatidae) using ultraconserved elements.” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 168, 107389. [link]

Summers, K., Tumulty, J. (2014). "Parental care, sexual selection, and mating systems in Neotropical poison frogs." Sexual Selection Perspectives and Models from the Neotropics. Macedo, R. H., Machado, G., eds., 289–320. [link]

Originally submitted by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (2022-04-19)
Description by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (updated 2022-04-19)
Distribution by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (updated 2022-04-19)
Life history by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (updated 2022-04-19)
Trends and threats by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (updated 2022-04-19)
Comments by: Sophie Allen, Tiffanie Dowd, Kaylee Pebelier (updated 2022-04-19)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-04-19)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Ranitomeya toraro <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 30, 2022.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 Sep 2022.

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