Dendrobates auratus - (Girard, 1855)
Poison Dart Frog
Other English Common Names: Green Poison Frog, Green and Black Poison Frog
Synonym(s): Dendrobates latimaculatus ;Dendrobates tinctorius auratus ;Dendrobates trivittatus auratus ;Hylaplesia aurata
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Dendrobates auratus (Girard, 1855) (TSN 173543)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103901
Element Code: AAABK01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
Image 10922

© Forrest Brem

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Anura Dendrobatidae Dendrobates
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Dendrobates auratus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18Oct1996
Global Status Last Changed: 18Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA (05Nov1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Hawaii (SNA)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Humid lowlands from southeastern Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope and southeastern Costa Rica on the Pacific versant to northwestern Colombia (sea level to 1,000 m asl). In 1932, 206 specimens of D. auratus from Taboga or Taboguilla Islands, Panama were released in the upper Manoa Valley, Oahu, Hawaii in an attempt to control non-native insects (Silverstone, 1975; McKeown, 1996). A few feral populations of D. auratus descended from these animals still persist in the mountains and valleys of Oahu.

Population Size Comments: This is an abundant species that is often seen and regularly recorded throughout its range. There is great geographic variation in the appearance of this species; over 15 distinct colour morphs of wild D. auratus have been recorded. (Heselhaus, 1992). The blue morph of D. auratus present on the Pacific side of Panama is believed to be threatened with extinction (Heselhaus, 1992).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: General loss of suitably wooded areas and collection for the international pet trade. Owing to the apparently low fecundity of this species, the possibility exists that overharvesting, especially of the rarer morphs, may contribute to localised population declines. Approximately 18,500 specimens of D. auratus were reported in trade over the period 1991 to 1996. The great majority of specimens were live animals, exported from Nicaragua, and presumably destined for the herpetological pet market. The USA was by far the largest single importer of D. auratus (~15,000 animals in total) during this period. It is believed that the trade in Nicaragua was decreasing in 2002 because of overcollection (GAA workshop). McKeown (1996) states that populations on Oahu are highly sensitive to destruction of their habitat and overcollection. Museum specimens of this species have been found to have chytrid fungi, the current impact of this pathogen on D. auratus is not known.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Humid lowlands from southeastern Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope and southeastern Costa Rica on the Pacific versant to northwestern Colombia (sea level to 1,000 m asl). In 1932, 206 specimens of D. auratus from Taboga or Taboguilla Islands, Panama were released in the upper Manoa Valley, Oahu, Hawaii in an attempt to control non-native insects (Silverstone, 1975; McKeown, 1996). A few feral populations of D. auratus descended from these animals still persist in the mountains and valleys of Oahu.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States HIexotic

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Female courts male. Male tends eggs about 10-13 days (until after hatching), occas. moistens them with fluid from bladder, transports larvae on dorsum to standing water. Female produces several clutches annually.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: An arboreal and terrestrial diurnal species of humid lowland and montane forest; also found in dense secondary growth and cocoa plantations (Kitasako, 1967. Adults are often associated large buttressed trees. Males are essentially non-territorial, but occasionally engage in aggressive competition (Wells, 1978). D. auratus is polygynous; females actively compete for males and attempt to guard their mate from others. The species shows a high degree of paternal care. After oviposition upon leaf litter the male guards and cares for the clutch of three to 13 eggs (Silverstone, 1975; Schafer, 1981; Heselhaus, 1992). On hatching (13 to 16 days in captivity) the tadpoles are carried by the male to a stagnant waterbody in a tree-hole, the leaf axil of a bromeliad (up to 30 m from the forest floor), or a small ground pool (Eaton, 1941; van Wijngaarden, 1990) Wild tadpoles feed on protozoans and rotifers, and metamorphose after 39 to 89 days; in captivity, sexual maturity is attained at between six and 15 months (Eaton, 1941; Silverstone, 1975; Summers, 1990; Zimmermann and Zimmermann, 1994). A reduction in the number of egg clutches and tadpoles maintained by the male results in a more rapid development of the eggs and higher growth rate of tadpoles (Wells, 1978; Summers, 1990). Longevity of at least six years reported in captivity (Zimmermann and Zimmermann, 1994). In Hawaii: well-foliated moist valleys; usually in moist places; on ground and in bushes. Usually under shelter late spring - early fall. Sometimes observed in standing water (rain-filled debris, depression in rock). Eggs are deposited in moist places on land, transported on dorsum of male to standing water (usually a small water-filled cavity) where development is completed.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Adults eat insects obtained on ground. Females may eat eggs from clutches of other females. Large larvae may eat their smaller siblings.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: In Hawaii, most active in open during cooler months (November-April); most active during and just after rainstorms (McKeown 1978).
Length: 4 centimeters
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Source of arrow poison for indigenous people in native range.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway, especially at night, such that frogs rarely if ever cross successfully; urban development dominated by buildings and pavement; large river.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: No information on movements or dispersal is available. This small frog is assumed to be sedentary, so it is probably appropriate to adopt the nominal minimum separation distance of 1 km for unsuitable habitat. Even if these frogs are sedentary, it seems unlikely that locations separated by a gap of less than a few kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Jan1989
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Davies, R.W. and Davies, V.C. 1986. The rearing and breeding of Dendrobates auratus in captivity. British Herpetological Society Bulletin 18:24.

  • Duellman, W. E., and L. Trueb. 1986. Biology of amphibians. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York. 670 pp.

  • Eaton, T. 1941. Notes on the life history of Dendrobates auratus. Copeia 1941:88-93.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Heselhaus, R. 1992. Poison-arrow frogs: their natural history and care in captivity. Blandford London. 112pp

  • Ibañez, R., Rand, A.S. and Jaramillo, C.A. 1999. Los anfibios del Monumento Natural Barro Colorado, Parque Nacional Soberanía y areas adyacentes. Mizrachi, E. and Pujol, S.A. Santa Fe de Bogota. 187pp

  • Ibáñez, R., Solís, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. Pages 159-170 in J.D. Johnson, R.G. Webb, and O.A. Flores-Villela (eds.) Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas.

  • Kitasako, J.T. 1967. Observations on the biology of Dendrobates pumilio Schmidt and Dendrobates auratus Girard. M.S. Thesis, University of Southern California. 87 pp.

  • McKeown, S. 1978. Hawaiian reptiles and amphibians. Oriental Pub. Co., Honolulu. 80 pp.

  • McKeown, S. 1996. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands. Diamond Head Publishing. Los Osos, California.

  • Oliver, J. A., and C. E. Shaw. 1953. The amphibians and reptiles of the Hawaiian Islands. Zoologica 38:65-95.

  • Ruiz-Carranza, P.M., Ardila-Robayo, M.C. and Lynch, J.D. 1996. Lista actualizada de la fauna de Amphibia de Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. 20(77):365-415.

  • Savage, J. M. 2002. The amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Silverstone, P.A. 1975. A revision of the poison-arrow frogs of the genus Dendrobates Wagler. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin. 21:1-55.

  • Summers, K. 1990. Paternal care and the cost of polygyny in the green dart-poison frog. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 27:307-313.

  • Wells, K.D. 1978. Courtship and parental behaviour in a Panamanian poison-arrow frog (Dendrobates auratus). Herpetologica. 34(2):148-155.

  • Young, B., Sedaghatkish, G., Roca, E. and Fuenmayor, Q. 1999. El Estatus de la Conservación de la Herpetofauna de Panamá: Resumen del Primer Taller Internacional sobre la Herpetofauna de Panamá. The Nature Conservancy Arlington, Virginia. 40 pp.

  • Zimmermann, E. and Zimmermann, H. 1994. Reproductive strategies, breeding, and conservation of tropical frogs:dart-poison frogs and Malagasy poison frogs. Pages 255-266 in J.B. Murphy, K. Adler, and J.T. Collins (eds.). Captive Management and Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca (New York). Contributions to Herpetology volume 11.

  • van Wijngaarden, R. 1984. "Behavior and Reproduction of Phyllobates vittatus in a Terrarium". Lacerta 42(8).

  • van Wijngaarden, R. 1990. Enkele klimaatgegevens en waarnemingen in de biotoop van de gifkikkers Phyllobates vittatus en Dendrobates auratus. Lacerta. 48(5):147-154.

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