AmphibiaWeb - Dendrobatidae
AMPHIBIAWEB

Dendrobatidae

333 species in 20 genera

Commonly Called Poison-arrow Frogs, Dart-poison Frogs, Poison-dart Frogs


Oophaga pumilio
Photo by Brian Freiermuth
(Click for family gallery)

Species of this family are small, brightly colored, neotropical frogs. Dart-poison frogs derive their name from the fact that the more derived genera in this group are brightly colored and produce toxic skin alkaloids, which are obtained through the insects they eat. Three species (Phyllobates terribilis, Phyllobates aurotaenia, and Phyllobates bicolor) have been documented as being used to poison blow-gun darts for hunting animals, in Colombia. The most toxic species of any frog is Phyllobates terribilis, which produces batrachotoxins and homobatrachoxins at a level approximately 20-fold that of other dart-poison frogs.

Dendrobatids have short but strong hind limbs and are agile jumpers and climbers. They are characterized by the presence of divided scutes (thick pads of skin) on the dorsal surface of their digits. These frogs are diurnal and lay eggs on land. Many dendrobatid species exhibit parental care, with the males or females (depending on the species) transporting their tadpoles on the back of the parent. In some species, each tadpole is placed in a separate treehole or other small water-containing enclosure, and females or both parents visit the tadpoles periodically, with the female depositing unfertilized eggs at each visit to feed the tadpole. Males are highly territorial, partaking in vocalization and wrestling competitions and display cephalic amplexus (grasping the female around the head during mating, unique among anurans).

This family has had several taxonomic revisions and examinations (e.g., Grant et al., 2006; Santos et al., 2010; Santos and Cannatella 2011; see Blackburn and Wake 2011 for a summary).

News Highlight
October 30, 2017: Although many animals avoid toxic prey, some use the toxins of their prey to ward off predators. However, toxic animals risk self-poisoning unless they can resist their own toxins. Tarvin et al. (2017) found that in poison frogs the basis of self-resistance to the neurotoxin epibatidine is a single genetic change that evolved in three groups; nature hit upon the same solution repeatedly. This change occurs in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, the molecular target of epibatidine. It makes the receptor more resistant to epibatidine, but it inhibits normal function by decreasing sensitivity to acetylcholine. To cope with this acetylcholine issue, some poison frogs evolved additional mutations that compensate for the cost by modifying the molecule so that acetylcholine activation is normal, but the negative effect of epibatidine is still reduced. (DCC)

May 8, 2017: Many amphibian species that are phenotypically indistinguishable are genetically very distinct, leading to the recognition of "cryptic" species. The reverse case, in which interspecific variation in traits such as color is high, relative to genetic divergence, is less common. Tarvin et al. (2017), in a study of the poison frog group Epipedobates, found that among species that are otherwise easily distinguishable by calls and coloration, genetic divergence is only 2 to 3%. Moreover, this rapid divergence resulted in two independent origins of colorful aposematic species. Probably no other group of frogs shows so rapid an origin of the aposematic phenotype.

Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Diurnal
  • Cephalic amplexus (unique among frogs)
  • Eggs are laid, hatch into tadpoles and cared for by parents
  • Males may be highly territorial and 'combat' each other
  • Morphological characters include: 1) thickened pads or scutes on dorsal surface of digits; 2) toxic skin alkaloids; 3)
  • Distribution limited to the neotropical rainforests of Central and South America
Dendrobatidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Blackburn, D. C., and D. B. Wake. 2011. Class Amphibia Gray, 1825. Zhang, Z.-q. ed., Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness. Zootaxa 3148: 3955.

Grant, T., D. R. Frost, J. P. Caldwell, R. Gagliardo, C. F. B. Haddad, P. J. R. Kok, D. B. Means, B. P. Noonan, W. E. Schargel, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. Phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives (Amphibia: Athesphatanura: Dendrobatidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 299: 1262

Pough, F. H., R. M. Andrews, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, K. D. Wells, and M. C. Brandley. 2015. Herpetology. Fourth Edition. Massachusetts: Sinauer.

Santos, J.C. and Cannatella, D.C. 2011. Phenotypic integration emeges from aposematism and scale in poison frogs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108, 61756180.

Santos JC, Coloma LA, Summers K, Caldwell JP, Ree R, Cannatella DC (2009) Amazonian Amphibian Diversity Is Primarily Derived from Late Miocene Andean Lineages. PLoS Biol 7(3): e1000056. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000056

Tarvin, R.D., Borghese, C.M., Sachs, W., Santos, J.C., Lu, Y., O'Connell, L.A., Cannatella, D.C., Harris, R.A., Zakon, H.H., (2017). "Interacting amino acid replacements allow poison frogs to evolve epibatidine resistance." Science 22 Sep 2017 : 1261-1266

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Subfamily Aromobatinae (129 species)

Genus Allobates (57 species)    [subfamily Aromobatinae]
Allobates alessandroi no account photos no sound/video
Allobates algorei no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates amissibilis no account photos no sound/video
Allobates bacurau no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates bromelicola no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates brunneus account photos no sound/video
Allobates caeruleodactylus no account photos no sound/video
Allobates caribe no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates cepedai no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates chalcopis account photos no sound/video
Allobates conspicuus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates crombiei no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates femoralis account photos sound/video
Allobates flaviventris account photos sound/video
Allobates fratisenescus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates fuscellus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates gasconi no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates goianus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates granti no account photos no sound/video
Allobates grillicantus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates grillisimilis account photos no sound/video
Allobates hodli no account photos no sound/video
Allobates humilis no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates ignotus account no photos no sound/video
Allobates insperatus no account photos no sound/video
Allobates juami account no photos no sound/video
Allobates juanii no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates kingsburyi no account photos no sound/video
Allobates magnussoni account no photos no sound/video
Allobates mandelorum no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates marchesianus account photos sound/video
Allobates masniger no account photos no sound/video
Allobates mcdiarmidi no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates melanolaemus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates myersi account photos no sound/video
Allobates nidicola no account photos no sound/video
Allobates niputidea no account photos no sound/video
Allobates nunciatus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates olfersioides account photos no sound/video
Allobates ornatus account photos no sound/video
Allobates pacaas no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates paleovarzensis account photos no sound/video
Allobates picachos no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates pittieri no account photos no sound/video
Allobates ranoides no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates sanmartini no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates subfolionidificans no account photos no sound/video
Allobates sumtuosus no account photos no sound/video
Allobates talamancae account photos no sound/video
Allobates tapajos no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates tinae no account photos no sound/video
Allobates trilineatus no account photos no sound/video
Allobates undulatus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates vanzolinius no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates velocicantus no account no photos no sound/video
Allobates wayuu account no photos no sound/video
Allobates zaparo account photos no sound/video

Genus Anomaloglossus (31 species)    [subfamily Aromobatinae]
Anomaloglossus apiau no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus ayarzaguenai no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus baeobatrachus no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus beebei no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus blanci no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus breweri no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus degranvillei no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus dewynteri no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus guanayensis no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus kaiei no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus leopardus no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus meansi no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus mitaraka no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus moffetti account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus murisipanensis no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus parimae no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus parkerae account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus praderioi no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus roraima account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus rufulus no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus saramaka no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus shrevei no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus stepheni account photos sound/video
Anomaloglossus surinamensis no account photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus tamacuarensis no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus tepequem no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus tepuyensis no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus triunfo no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus vacheri no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus verbeeksnyderorum no account no photos no sound/video
Anomaloglossus wothuja no account photos no sound/video

Genus Aromobates (19 species)    [subfamily Aromobatinae]
Aromobates alboguttatus no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates cannatellai no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates capurinensis no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates duranti no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates ericksonae no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates haydeeae no account photos no sound/video
Aromobates inflexus no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates leopardalis no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates mayorgai no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates meridensis no account photos no sound/video
Aromobates molinarii no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates nocturnus account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates ornatissimus no account photos no sound/video
Aromobates orostoma no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates saltuensis no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates serranus no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates tokuko no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates walterarpi no account no photos no sound/video
Aromobates zippeli no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Mannophryne (20 species)    [subfamily Aromobatinae]
Mannophryne caquetio no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne collaris no account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne cordilleriana no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne herminae no account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne lamarcai no account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne larandina no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne leonardoi no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne molinai no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne neblina no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne oblitterata no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne olmonae account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne orellana no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne riveroi no account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne speeri no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne trinitatis no account photos no sound/video
Mannophryne trujillensis no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne urticans no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne venezuelensis no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne vulcano no account no photos no sound/video
Mannophryne yustizi no account photos no sound/video

Genus Rheobates (2 species)    [subfamily Aromobatinae]
Rheobates palmatus no account photos no sound/video
Rheobates pseudopalmatus no account photos no sound/video
Subfamily Colostethinae (74 species)

Genus Ameerega (35 species)    [subfamily Colostethinae]
Ameerega altamazonica account photos sound/video
Ameerega andina no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega bassleri no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega berohoka account photos sound/video
Ameerega bilinguis no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega boehmei no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega boliviana no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega braccata account photos no sound/video
Ameerega cainarachi no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega erythromos no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega flavopicta no account photos sound/video
Ameerega hahneli no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega ignipedis account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega imasmari no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega ingeri no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega labialis no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega macero no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega maculata no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega munduruku account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega panguana no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega parvula account photos no sound/video
Ameerega pepperi account photos no sound/video
Ameerega peruviridis no account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega petersi account photos sound/video
Ameerega picta account photos sound/video
Ameerega planipaleae no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega pongoensis no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega pulchripecta no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega rubriventris no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega shihuemoy account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega silverstonei account photos no sound/video
Ameerega simulans no account photos no sound/video
Ameerega trivittata account photos sound/video
Ameerega yoshina account no photos no sound/video
Ameerega yungicola no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Colostethus (20 species)    [subfamily Colostethinae]
Colostethus agilis account photos no sound/video
Colostethus alacris no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus brachistriatus no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus dunni no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus dysprosium no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus fraterdanieli no account photos no sound/video
Colostethus furviventris no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus imbricolus no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus inguinalis no account photos no sound/video
Colostethus latinasus no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus lynchi no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus mertensi no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus panamensis no account photos no sound/video
Colostethus poecilonotus no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus pratti no account photos no sound/video
Colostethus ramirezi no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus ruthveni no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus thorntoni no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus ucumari no account no photos no sound/video
Colostethus yaguara no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Epipedobates (7 species)    [subfamily Colostethinae]
Epipedobates anthonyi account photos no sound/video
Epipedobates boulengeri no account photos no sound/video
Epipedobates darwinwallacei no account photos no sound/video
Epipedobates espinosai no account no photos no sound/video
Epipedobates machalilla account photos no sound/video
Epipedobates narinensis account photos no sound/video
Epipedobates tricolor account photos no sound/video

Genus Leucostethus (4 species)    [subfamily Colostethinae]
Leucostethus argyrogaster account photos no sound/video
Leucostethus bilsa no account no photos no sound/video
Leucostethus fugax no account no photos no sound/video
Leucostethus jota no account photos no sound/video

Genus Silverstoneia (8 species)    [subfamily Colostethinae]
Silverstoneia dalyi account no photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia erasmios no account no photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia flotator no account photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia gutturalis no account no photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia minima no account no photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia minutissima no account no photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia nubicola no account photos no sound/video
Silverstoneia punctiventris no account no photos no sound/video
Subfamily Dendrobatinae (60 species)

Genus Adelphobates (3 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Adelphobates castaneoticus account photos no sound/video
Adelphobates galactonotus account photos no sound/video
Adelphobates quinquevittatus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Andinobates (15 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Andinobates abditus no account no photos no sound/video
Andinobates altobueyensis no account no photos no sound/video
Andinobates bombetes account photos no sound/video
Andinobates cassidyhornae account photos no sound/video
Andinobates claudiae no account photos sound/video
Andinobates daleswansoni account photos no sound/video
Andinobates dorisswansonae account photos no sound/video
Andinobates fulguritus account photos no sound/video
Andinobates geminisae account photos sound/video
Andinobates minutus no account photos no sound/video
Andinobates opisthomelas no account photos no sound/video
Andinobates tolimensis account photos no sound/video
Andinobates victimatus no account no photos no sound/video
Andinobates viridis no account no photos no sound/video
Andinobates virolinensis account photos no sound/video

Genus Dendrobates (5 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Dendrobates auratus account photos no sound/video
Dendrobates leucomelas account photos no sound/video
Dendrobates nubeculosus no account no photos no sound/video
Dendrobates tinctorius account photos no sound/video
Dendrobates truncatus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Excidobates (3 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Excidobates captivus account photos sound/video
Excidobates condor no account photos no sound/video
Excidobates mysteriosus account photos sound/video

Genus Minyobates (1 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Minyobates steyermarki account photos no sound/video

Genus Oophaga (12 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Oophaga anchicayensis no account photos no sound/video
Oophaga andresi no account photos no sound/video
Oophaga arborea account photos no sound/video
Oophaga granulifera account photos sound/video
Oophaga histrionica account photos no sound/video
Oophaga lehmanni account photos no sound/video
Oophaga occultator no account no photos no sound/video
Oophaga pumilio account photos sound/video
Oophaga solanensis no account no photos no sound/video
Oophaga speciosa account no photos no sound/video
Oophaga sylvatica account photos no sound/video
Oophaga vicentei no account photos no sound/video

Genus Phyllobates (5 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Phyllobates aurotaenia account photos no sound/video
Phyllobates bicolor account photos no sound/video
Phyllobates lugubris account photos no sound/video
Phyllobates terribilis account photos no sound/video
Phyllobates vittatus account photos no sound/video

Genus Ranitomeya (16 species)    [subfamily Dendrobatinae]
Ranitomeya amazonica no account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya benedicta account photos sound/video
Ranitomeya cyanovittata no account no photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya defleri account no photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya fantastica account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya flavovittata no account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya imitator account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya reticulata no account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya sirensis account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya summersi account photos sound/video
Ranitomeya toraro no account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya uakarii account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya vanzolinii account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya variabilis account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya ventrimaculata no account photos no sound/video
Ranitomeya yavaricola no account no photos no sound/video
Subfamily Hyloxalinae (70 species)

Genus Ectopoglossus (7 species)    [subfamily Hyloxalinae]
Ectopoglossus absconditus no account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus astralogaster no account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus atopoglossus no account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus confusus account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus isthminus no account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus lacrimosus no account no photos no sound/video
Ectopoglossus saxatilis no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Hyloxalus (63 species)    [subfamily Hyloxalinae]
Hyloxalus abditaurantius no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus aeruginosus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus anthracinus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus arliensis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus awa no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus azureiventris account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus betancuri no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus bocagei no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus borjai no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus breviquartus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus cevallosi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus chlorocraspedus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus chocoensis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus craspedoceps account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus delatorreae no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus edwardsi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus elachyhistus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus eleutherodactylus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus exasperatus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus excisus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus faciopunctulatus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus fallax no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus fascianigrus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus felixcoperari no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus fuliginosus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus idiomelus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus infraguttatus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus insulatus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus italoi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus jacobuspetersi no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus lehmanni no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus leucophaeus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus littoralis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus maculosus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus maquipucuna no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus marmoreoventris no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus mittermeieri no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus mystax no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus nexipus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus parcus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus patitae no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus peculiaris no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus peruvianus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus pinguis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus pulchellus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus pulcherrimus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus pumilus no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus ramosi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus ruizi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus saltuarius no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus sanctamariensis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus sauli no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus shuar no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus sordidatus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus spilotogaster account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus subpunctatus no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus sylvaticus account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus toachi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus utcubambensis no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus vergeli no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus vertebralis no account photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus whymperi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyloxalus yasuni no account photos no sound/video


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