AmphibiaWeb - Oophaga histrionica


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Oophaga histrionica (Berthold, 1845)
Harlequin Poison Frog
family: Dendrobatidae
subfamily: Dendrobatinae
genus: Oophaga
Oophaga histrionica
© 2019 Daniel Vásquez-Restrepo (1 of 36)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
CITES Appendix II
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Oophaga histrionica has smooth skin, and no tarsal tubercle. The ornosternum is lacking. Individuals exhibit a number of different color patterns, with most being a variation of one to many red, orange, or yellow spots on a black or brown background. The male is usually the same size or larger than the female (Walls 1994).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Ecuador

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (12 records).
Its range includes the mostly lowland rainforests (0-300 m) of Colombia and Ecuador, but this species has also (more rarely) been found at elevations over 1100 m (Walls 1994).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The male calls from a low perch, between 0 and 1 meters above the ground, to attract females. Either the male and/or the female leads the way to an egg-laying site, which is not pre-determined by the male. The male often touches the back of the female, and sits on her back on the way to the site. The male and female have a complex courtship ritual, which includes a 2 to 3 hour long sequence of various sitting, bowing (only done by the female), crouching, touching, and circling behaviors. It is thought that the female is the one who carries the tadpoles to water pools in bromeliad or other plant leaf axils or in crevices (Walls 1994). Females have been observed eating or destroying the eggs in other females' clutches (Duellman and Trueb 1986).

In 2011, the genus Dendrobates was subdivided into seven genera, including the new genus Oophaga by 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]

Duellman, W. E., and Trueb, L. (1986). Biology of Amphibians. McGraw-Hill, New York.

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

Originally submitted by: Franziska Sandmeier (first posted 2001-03-21)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, Brent Nguyen (2016-06-29)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2016 Oophaga histrionica: Harlequin Poison Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jul 2024.

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