AmphibiaWeb - Excidobates condor


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Excidobates condor Almendáriz, Ron & Brito M., 2012
Condor Poison Frog
family: Dendrobatidae
subfamily: Dendrobatinae
genus: Excidobates
Species Description: Almendariz A, Ron SR, Brito J 2012 Una especie nueva de rana venenosa de altura del genero Excidobates (Dendrobatoidea: Dendrobatidae) de la Cordillera del Condor. Pap. Avulsos Zool (Sao Paulo) 52:387-399.
Excidobates condor
© 2012 Ana Almendariz (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
CITES Appendix II
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Excidobates condor is a small frog described from four males and one female. Snout-vent lengths of adult males ranged from 18.5 - 20.6 mm and was 21.6 mm in the adult female. The snout is short and appears rounded from the side view and truncated from the dorsal and ventral views. The head is widest at the eyes and approximately the same width as the body. The nostrils are visible from the front view but not from the dorsal view. The canthus rostralis is rounded and the loreal region is flat and vertical. The tympanum’s diameter is approximately ⅓ the diameter of the iris, and only the lower half of the tympanum is visible. The skin is covered with tubercles that extend to the front and back legs. However, in preservative, the tubercles are less obvious and the head and body have wrinkles. In general, there are mild skin ridges on the body. The hands lack interdigital membranes, and the males possess no nuptial pad. The thenar tubercle is bifurcated and wide in the middle. The fingers are relatively long, with the first finger being the shortest, the third finger being the longest, and a relative finger length of III > IV > II > I. The fingers have discs and fingers I and II have one subarticular tubercle while fingers III and IV have two. The foot has an inner metatarsal tubercle that is twice the length of the outer metatarsal tubercle. The first toe is very short, approximately ½ the length of the second toe. The toes also have discs, which are smaller than the finger discs. The discs of toes I and V are smaller than the middle toes. The opening of this frog’s cloaca is horizontal (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Tadpoles have robust bodies with a total length at Gosner stage 35 of 32 mm and a body length of 6.4 mm (for measurements of tadpoles from stage 21 to 42, please see Almendáriz et al. 2012). The body is wider than high. The snout is rounded in the dorsal view. The eyes are dorsal. The oral disk is directed anteroventrally and is more than a third of the body width. There is a complete row of irregular papillae on the posterior lip, but none on the anterior lip, and a single lateral row. The labial teeth formula is 2 (2) / 3 (1) with A-1 being complete, A-2 having a medial gap, P-1 having a small medial gap, and P-2 being longer than P-3. The vent tube is free. In preservative, the mouth is visible at the body margin from the dorsal view. The long tail has musculature that is slightly taller than wide. The fins begin at the base of the tail (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Two species related to E. condor are E. captivus and E. mysteriosus. Adult E. condor can be distinguished from these species by the colorless, tubercular nature of the skin on its back and by the absence of large white spots on the ventral surface of the thighs. It can be further distinguished from E. mysteriosus by its smaller size and by its tendency to inhabit areas at higher altitudes than ones inhabited by E. mysteriosus (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Excidobates condor also closely resembles Andinobates abditus. However, E. condor females are larger than A. abditus females. Additionally, E. condor lacks the orange/yellow groins associated with A. abditus. Furthermore, E. condor possesses orange forearms that are absent in A. abditus (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

In life, adult E. condor has a background color of black on the dorsal and ventral surfaces. The head in males is dark red from the anterior end of the upper jaw to the eye, while females possess all-black heads. The forearms are orange-brown from just above the elbows, with this coloration becoming most saturated on the hands. The ventral surfaces of the hands are orange, but the soles of the feet are black. The iris is black. In preserved adult specimens, the fingers and toes are light gray, while the rest of the body is dark gray (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Tadpoles, in life, are a uniform black on the dorsal surface while the belly is black with a metallic sheen. The fins are transparent. In preservative, the dorsum fades to light tan, the abdomen is black with a light median band at the mid-belly and a transparent tan periphery around the belly. The tail musculature becomes dark brown at the middle and dorsoventral direction but gray in the dorsal region. The fins are transparent gray (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

The female specimen had an all-black head, while males possess dark red heads. Furthermore, the female is somewhat larger than the males (Almendáriz 2012).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ecuador

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Excidobates condor is endemic to southeastern Ecuador. Specifically, the species is found on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera del Condor in Eastern Montane Forests between 1770 - 2130 meters in elevation. The range of this species is just greater than 2,000 km2, covering the montane cloud forests and old growth forests (Almendáriz et al. 2012, 2014).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These frogs are diurnal (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Adult specimens were collected in the afternoon and found at the base of trees and bromeliads, or in roots, leaf litter, and moss that cover a sandstone substrate. Adults are difficult to find and these locations may provide cryptic refugia (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Excidobates condor undergoes indirect development and tadpoles can be found in collections of water at the base of bromeliads from the genus Guzmania (Almendáriz et al. 2012).

Trends and Threats
Excidobates condor is listed on the IUCN Red List as “Endangered” but with a stable population trend (IUCN 2016). Threats to this species include habitat loss and pollution caused by mining, logging, and industrial/military activities. Conservation efforts include in-place resource management and education through international legislation. The species currently exists within the Cerro Plateado Biological Reserve and the buffer zone of the El Quimi Biological Reserve (Almendáriz et al. 2012, 2014, IUCN 2016).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

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


The genus Excidobates is in the family Dendrobatidae and a sister group to Andinobates and Ranitomeya. Maximum Likelihood analysis of mitochondrial genes 12S and 16S rRNA, indicate that E. condor is sister to E. mysteriosus and together they are sister to E. captivus (Almendáriz et al. 2012). As of 2022, these are the only three species in the genus.

The species epithet “condor” was inspired by the region where the frogs are found, specifically, the mountain range in Ecuador called the Cordillera del Cóndor (Almendáriz et al. 2012).


Almendáriz, A. C., Ron, S. R., Brito, J. M. (2012). “Una especie nueva de rana venenosa de altura del género Excidobates (Dendrobatoidea: Dendrobatidae) de la Cordillera del Cóndor.” Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 52(32), 387-399. [link]

Almendáriz, A., Simmons, J.E., Brito, J., Vaca-Guerrero, J. (2014). “Overview of the herpetofauna of the unexplored Cordillera del Cóndor of Ecuador.” Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 8(1), 45-64. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2019). "Excidobates condor". The IUCN Red List ofThreatened Species 2019: e.T78500583A98658744.

Originally submitted by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (2022-05-11)
Description by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (updated 2022-05-11)
Distribution by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (updated 2022-05-11)
Life history by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (updated 2022-05-11)
Trends and threats by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (updated 2022-05-11)
Comments by: Adrian Gutierrez, Alicia Hernandez, Thomas Phillips (updated 2022-05-11)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-05-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Excidobates condor: Condor Poison Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 23, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Jul 2024.

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