INPA (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia) PPBio (Programa de Pesquisa em Biodiversidade) PELD (Pesquisas Ecológicas de Longa Duração)
Description A small frog. Males 28-33 mm,
females 33-35 mm. The dorsum is
black or dark brown. A light brown
dorsolateral line and a broken white
ventrolateral line run from the snout
to the base of the legs. The legs are
dark brown. An orange half-moon
shaped patch extends from the base
of the legs onto the thigh and there is
an orange-yellow patch behind the
forelimb. The belly is white with
irregular black markings, and the
throat region is black.
Sometimes confused with Lithodytes lineatus, which is similar in size and color, but has a yellow dorsolateral stripe that circles the whole dorsum, hind legs with alternating light and dark bars, and more than one orange patch on the thighs.
Found primarily in lowland forests of eastern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and of the Amazon drainage of Colombia, eastern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil; also in densely forested regions of the Napo and Pastaza drainages of Ecuador and southern Cordillera Oriental of Peru.
In the Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke in Brazil, occurs principally on clay soils with seasonal pools.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors Diurnal and terrestrial. Adults feed mainly on beetles, ants, crickets and roaches, and juveniles eat mainly collembolans. Reproduction occurs between November and April, with a peak in January or February. Clutches contain about 8-17 eggs and are deposited out of water between fallen leaves. Development to hatching takes place between the leaves. The tadpoles are carried on the back of primarily the male parent to pools. Males are territorial, and attend the eggs and tadpoles in the leaf nest. Males court females within their territories for 2-3 days before egg-laying.
Females do not appear to respond to playback calls (Hödl 1983).
Comments This species was featured in News of the Week July 15, 2015:
Amphibians display a wide spectrum of parental care, from abandonment after laying eggs to provisioning larvae with food after hatching or live birth, which has been considered a fixed trait. Ringler et al. (2015) tested that assumption in Allobates femoralis, a species in which males obligatorily transport tadpoles and females provide no parental care, after observing a small proportion of tadpole transportation by females over a 5 year period. Using both previously observed data and laboratory experiments with wild-caught individuals, the authors tested if mothers transported tadpoles when fathers disappeared. The statistical and experimental results consistently showed that females compensate for unavailable males by transporting tadpoles themselves. The authors urge more cautious labelling of uniparental care as it may oversimplify parental behavioral flexibility. (Written by Ann Chang)
This species was featured in News of the Week January 24, 2022:
Picking the right spot to lay eggs or tadpoles is crucial to population persistence of aquatic breeding amphibians. Despite its relevance to population growth, relatively little is known about how frogs discover and select water bodies for egg or tadpole deposition. In a simple but clever field experiment, Serrano-Rojas and Pašukonis (2021) demonstrate that in the tadpole-transporting Brilliant-thighed Poison Frog (Allobates femoralis), frogs (primarily males) rely on volatile cues to find pools in the tropical rainforest. Frogs were more likely to lay tadpoles in pools surrounded by decomposing litter that had been soaked in stagnant water than in pools containing cues from conspecific tadpoles and pools with clean water. Thus, frogs rely on volatile cues from litter decomposing in water to discover suitable pools where to lay their tadpoles. (Written by Alessandro Catenazzi)
Video of calling in the wild; the process of recording calls in the field; and behavior of an individual male in response to
Language: German. Run-time: 0:10 and 2:32.
Videos submitted by Dr. W. Hödl.
Short clip edited from "Allobates femoralis calling behavior"
Hodl, Walter (1983). "Phyllobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae): Calling behaviour and acoustic orientation in males (field study)." "." Begleitveröffentllchung zum wissenschaftlichen Film C 1788 der BHWK Wiss. Film, (30), 12-19. [link]
Lima, A. P., Magnusson, W. E., Menin, M., Erdtmann, L. K., Rodrigues, D. J., Keller, C., and Hödl, W. (2005). Guia de Sapos da Reserva Adolpho Ducke, Amazonia Central. Átterna Design Editorial, Manaus. [link]