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Geographic Range

Dendrobates tinctorius inhabits small isolated pockets in French Guinea and northeastern Brazil. (Obst, 1988)


Dendrobates tinctorius are creatures of humid, usually wet habitats, and their skins are not waxy enough to prevent evaporation in dry air. Often it is found in heavy vines one to two meters above the ground where its bright yellow stripes stand out in the darkness of the forest. (Walls, 1994)

Physical Description

This is a large poison frog, commonly 40 to 50 mm with some females reaching 60 mm. This is a bright frog with two broad stripes on the back, these stripes are connected by cross bands to produce 2 to 3 oval blue islands down the middle of the back. The arms and legs are black or deep blue with many bright yellow or black spots. Sometimes the yellow is replaced with white or the two yellow stripes fuse across the back to produce a frog with a solid yellow back on a bright blue or black background--they are truly striking animals. It has a typical erect posture and a distinct tympanum about half the diameter of the eye. In theory males can be distinguished from females by having larger finger discs that are cut straighter across the tips. Additionally, males are somewhat territorial and may wrestle, but so do females on occasion. Of course only males call. (Walls, 1994)



Amplexus occurs always on land, never in water. Eight to ten eggs are laid and the male ejaculates the sperm directly over the eggs. The male will carry the nearly hatched tadpoles on his back to water. There tends to be considerable sibling aggression among the larvae. (Obst, 1988) Dozens of tadpoles may be placed in one large water hole by several males. Tadpoles reach transformation size in about ten weeks and feed on almost anything. (Walls, 1994)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)


All Dendrobatids are diurnal and live on or close to the ground. Males have two vocal slits and an unpaired jugular vocal sac. They give off humming, trilling or chirping sounds. Their territory is optically and vocally defended, usually from an exposed location such as a rock or tree stump. There can be intra specific ritualistic fighting (shoving, jumping, pushing, biting). (Obst, 1988) The bright color obviously advertises its poisonous nature, and it has few predators. (Walls, 1994)