Golfo Dulce Poison Frog

(Phyllobates vittatus)


Golfo Dulce Poison Frog IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

Diurnal and terrestrial. Black colour with two yellow-orange dorsolateral bands from the tip of the snout to the back of the body and a yellow-white interrupted stripe in the middle of the back. Belly light colored. Legs light green with fine black spots. The female lays 10-25 eggs up to twice a week. The male tends to the clutch and transports the larvae when they hatch after about 18 days on his back to a body of water, where they complete their metamorphosis to small frogs in about two months.

Did you know?
That the origin of the genus name Phyllobates comes from the two greek words "fyllo" (=leaf) and "bates" (=walker)? The combination “Leaf-walker” (German denominatuon „Blattsteiger“) refers to a rather terrestrial way of living on the different species in the herb layer of the rain forest. The origin of the epipheton vittatus ist the latin word vitta (= bandeau) and refers to the circumferential band.


Name (Scientific) Phyllobates vittatus
Name (English) Golfo Dulce Poison Frog
Name (French) Phyllobate à bande
Name (German) Gestreifter Blattsteiger
Name (Spanish) Rana de punta de flecha rayada, Ranita venenosa de Costa Ric
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Ricci Speziari



Range Costa Rica (Golfo Dulce region, Dominical in the Provincia de Puntarenas), perhaps also in adjacent south-western Panama.
Habitat They live in primary lowland moist and wet forests from 20 - 550m, associated with streams, between plant roots and in hollows between rocks, covered with plants or remains of plants. When they are approached they retrieve fast.
Wild population In the Golfo Dulce region this species is moderately common and regularly recorded. However it is threatened by forest clearance for agricultural land and tree plantations, water pollution caused by contamination from gold mining activities as well as potential over-collection of adults for the pet trade, although most of the species' range is in three protected areas in Costa Rica, including Parque Nacional Corcavado. There is therefore a need for strengthened management of these sites, and expanded protection to include other remnant forest patches in Costa Rica. The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012)
Zoo population 412 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Golfo Dulce Poison Frog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Ricci Speziari

Why do zoos keep this animal

Neotropical frogs are threatened by habitat distruction, disease and other factors. Zoos and aquariums keeping these species want to build up reserve populations and to raise awareness of the global amphibian crisis. Several zoos have also linked their ex situ activities with involvement in in situ conservation.