top of page

For the external links , refrences  click here to read the full wikipedia article 

 2 - Dendrobate leucomelas : The yellow-banded poison dart frog

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :


The yellow-banded poison dart frog (Dendrobates leucomelas), also known as yellow-headed poison dart frog or bumblebee poison frog, is a poisonous frog from the Dendrobates genus of the family Dendrobatidae.



Dendrobates leucomelas

Conservation status :




Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1]

Scientific classification :








Species:D. leucomelas

Binomial name:

Dendrobates leucomelas
Steindachner, 1864

Distribution and habitat :



D. leucomelas is found in the northern part of continent of South America, most notably in Venezuela. It is also found in parts of Guyana, Brazil, and the extreme easternmost part of Colombia.[2] This amphibian is normally found in very humid conditions in tropical rain forests, close to fresh water. It is often found on flat rocks, trees, plants (notably bromeliads), and the leaf litter of the forest floor. During the dry season, specimens are known to congregate in damper places, such as under rocks or fallen tree trunks.[1]



The D. leucomelas' natural habitat is tropical, and not subject to great seasonal temperature variations. Typically, temperature variances are related to elevation and time of day, and range from the low 20s to the low 30s °C. In captivity, care must be taken not to overheat the frogs, as they can be sensitive to higher temperatures.

Although preferring high humidity levels, this species can handle lower humidity levels much better than other species in the genus. Specimens can also be found in the seasonally drier forest islands in its natural range, and at elevations ranging from sea level to 800 metres AMSL.[3]




Range of D. leucomelas (red)

Morphology :


D. leucomelas is one of the largest species in the genus Dendrobates, with a snout-to-vent length between 3.1 and 5 cm (1.2 and 2.0 in). Average adult size, however, rarely exceeds 4 cm (1.6 in).[2]Their average weight is reported as being around 3 g (0.11 oz). Females tend to be slightly larger than the males, but otherwise, little in their appearance can be used to determine the sex of the species.


Like most poison dart frogs, the yellow-banded poison dart frog has evolved aposematic colouration as a warning to potential predators that it will make an unpalatable or toxic meal.


Predominantly, these frogs have a bright yellow colouration with varying numbers of broad black stripes and/or spots that extend over the whole body. Some morphs are orange in colour, and variations exist within the species (naturally occurring and not morphs solely within the exotic pet community) that dictate the extent of these markings ranging from fine spots to thick, unbroken banding.[4]


They have glandular, adhesive pads on their toes (which aid in climbing and positioning) and, in common with other species in their order, they have a short, protrudable, unnotched, sticky tongue, which extends to catch prey.[5]

Adult D. leucomelas next to scale object (UK 2p) coin

Behaviour :


D. leucomelas frogs are diurnal by nature, and are known to be fiercely territorial. They live in small groups in the wild, and will attack neighbouring groups with surprising ferocity for creatures of their size. They will also warn off rivals by emitting loud calls; D. leucomelas is known to have one of the loudest calls among poison dart frogs; theirs can be heard from some distance and is described as an innocent-sounding, bird-like trill. D. leucomelas, as with all frogs, can also call to attract members of the opposite sex. Uniquely, it is also the only poison dart frog to estivate during dry spells.[2]




Yellow-banded poison dart frogs reproduce sexually. The mother lays her fertilized eggs (zygotes) in a body of water. When they hatch, they are called tadpoles.

Three Dendrobates leucomelasfrogs in a tropical rainforest vivarium



Like all Dendrobatidae, D. leucomelas frogs secrete toxins from their skin, which they gain from eating certain unspecified arthropod prey. It is uncertain precisely which arthropods lend their toxicity to which genus of Dendrobatidae, but one such arthropod is thought to have been identified as a possible source of the toxin for Dendrobatidae Phyllobates terribilis(aka the golden poison frog), and it is a local variant of the Melyrid beetle.[6]


Dendrobatidae toxins vary from species to species, but some are extremely potent neurotoxins. The alkaloid toxins, secreted from the frogs' skin, interfere with nerve impulses, which can lead to heart failure or fibrillation.


Husbandry and conservation status :


The species' robustness, relatively common numbers in the wild, and widespread natural distribution has helped maintain this frog's status of "Least Concern" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's conservation red list, despite some overharvesting of wild specimens for the exotic pet trade.[2][1] The species' ability to be easily bred in captivity has led to a fall in prices within the exotic pet trade, which is an alleviative factor to the problem of overharvesting.


Video : 

Dendrobates Leucomelas

Care Articles :


1- Dendrobates Leucomelas care sheet :

courtesy to :




Dendrobates Leucomelas are from the Family Dendrobatidae. Dendrobates Leucomelas populations can be found throught venezuela, northern Brazil, both guyana's and the south east of Colombia. They are diurnal frogs that are very active and make very intresting pets. 




Dendrobates Leucomelas are a bright species whos colouration and pattern ranges depending on locality and/or morph. The standard morph is balck with yellow bands which contain black markings.  There is also a banded morph, were the bands are solid with no black markings. Other known morphs include another banded morph which is not much different in pattern and colouration to the standard morph, however this morph is larger and has a far greater range of yellow and orange. There is also a green legged morph but is not very common and often hard to source. The pattering and/or colouration can vary within each morph making them look different, this can be seen clearly in siblings and clutches.





In captivity Dendrobates Leucomelas  are not toxic, there toxins are produced from their natural diet. There is much research into what part of their diet causes this toxin and it is believed to come from fire ants and other small inverts. Wild caught specimens of Dendrobates Leucomelas will soon loose their toxicity when in captivity.




Dendrobates Leucomelas are small amphians but do require a fair ammount of space, a vivarium 18Lx18Wx18H will house a pair quiet comfortably. They are a terrestrial species by nature, but will make use of the area up the vivarium. Dendrobates Leucomelas can be found climbing the glass so some ledges and sturdy logs raising vertically are adviced. Dendrobates Leucomelas do well housed in groups but care should be taken as they will still show signs of aggression. It is best to house them in sexed pairs or a large group of males and females in a ration of  two males to each female. Dendrobates Leucomelas are territorial and will fight over breeding sites and feeding locations, so it’s important to provide lots of hiding spots and cover. Dendrobates Leucomelas will also appreciate a well planted vivarium, plants like pothos and bromeliads provide not only cover but potential breeding sites.  Eco earth or coco husk with a covering of dead leaves, twigs and nut shells make an ideal substrates and should be given drainage by means of a false bottom or a deep layer of  hydroleca. The viavrium should have an escape prof lid constructed of either glass or plastic. Screen style tops should also be covered with glass or plastic panels. This is vital in keeping the humidity raised in the vivarium and will also prevent small prey items from escaping. When choosing the lid of the vivarium it is important to remember that most, if not all the UVB rays will be filtered out by most glass and plastics, so care should be taken in choosing a suitable material.



Although Dendrobates Leucomelas naturally inhabit the forest floor under the cover of the tree canopy, they are still subjected to exposure from U.V rays and full spectrum lighting. UVB can be very beneficial to Dendrobates Leucomelas, it will aid them in the production of D3 and will help prevent bone disfigurement in juveniles. A 2% tube with a reflector will provide them with substantial exposure and help promote plant growth. Full spectrum lighting may also be beneficial to both frogs and plants, and will contain a level of UVB. 




Dendrobates Leucomelas require high humidity's of 80% pluss along with some ventilation. The vivarium should be misted with de-chlorinated water at least once a day, and never allowed to fully dry out. Dendrobates Leucomelas require temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees in the day with a drop to 67 degrees at night.




Dendrobates Leucomelas are small amphibians that eat very small foods. Providing a constant source of small insects is the most difficult part of their husbandry. Fruit flies make the best staple diet for dendrobates, and they are very easy to culture. Pin head crickets, springtails, termites, aphids and small fly larvae also make good foods but are not ideal as the main diet. Feeding the right amounts can be a tricky game, feeding should be judged on how many insects are eaten within 2 minuets. Adults should be fed every other day, and  Juveniles do best offered food daily but in smaller quantities. Vitamin and mineral supplements are essential, and should be replaced every six months. Fruit flies and other food items should be supplemented before being offered to the frogs.


Fruit fly culturing guide



A Very shallow water area should be provided as Dendrobates Leucomelas will use it to replenish their natural water reserve, BUT Dendrobates Leucomelas are very poor swimmers and will drown easily. The area or dish should be changed daily using de-chlorinated water. 




Handling should be avoided unless it is vital to the specimens well fare. If you do have to handle then powder free surgical gloves must be worn and frequently misted with de-chlorinated water to stop them drying out. Dendrobates Leucomelas do not like or get used to being handled, it is very stress full to them and if not done correctly very dangerous. Not only will the salts in human skin irritate them but there is a risk of damaging a limb or tearing the skin. When cleaning the viv the safest and less stress full way for the frogs is to catch them in a tub which has been sprayed with de-chlorinated water.




Dendrobates Leucomelas are an ideal Dendrobates for a beginner to posion dart frogs, however they are very fragile and deteriorate quickly if not given the proper care. These frogs stress very easily and are only suited as a visual pet.

2- Dendrobates leucomelas - Bumble Bee Dart Frog

courtesy to :


prices around : 40 $ per frog 


Defining Characteristics: Great beginner frog | Contrasting yellow and black coloration | Bold | Easy to breed | Loud, pleasant call | Large | Can be kept in groups


Name: Dendrobates leucomelas. Leucomelas literally translates to white and black, due to the original specimen described presumably blanched of color from preservation. In the hobby, Dendrobates leucomelas are often called bumble bee dart frogs, yellow banded poison dart frogs,, leucomelas, or simply 'leucs'.< 


Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 1-2 Dendrobates leucomelas, but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.< p>Temperature: Dendrobates leucomelas can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 85 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85F are dangerous. Leucs are a bit more resistant to warmer temperatures compared to other species of poison dart frogs.


Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, bumble bee dart frogs prefer a humidity range of 70 – 100%, but can tolerate humidity down to 50% for short periods of time if the frogs have access to water. Low humidity levels, especially without access to water, can quickly be fatal.


Size: Adult female leucomelas are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.5 inches. Male leucs are a bit smaller, averaging about 1.25 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates leucomelas froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately 3/4" to 1” long.


Age: Dendrobates leucomelas is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. All bumble bee dart frogs for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.


Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, leucs prefer smaller foods. All of the bumble bee poison dart frogs Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates leucomelas will readily consume Drosophila hydei fruit flies and pinhead crickets. All ages of poison dart frogs will enjoy springtails and isopods. All feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. For more information on what poison dart frogs can eat, please visit our How-To Guide on Feeding Poison Dart Frogs.


Sexing: Dendrobates leucomelas is not sexable until 10-12 months of age. Male leucs tend to be smaller than females, which often appear both longer and wider. Josh's Frogs sells 2-3 month old juveniles that are not sexable unless otherwise noted. For more information on sexing poison dart frogs, please visit our How-To Guide on Sexing Poison Dart Frogs.


Color/Pattern: A very variable poison dart frog, all Dendrobates leucomelas are mostly yellow and black in color with a varying degree of black spots and bands. The yellow can range from a very bright yellow to an orange color in some individuals. Most leucs born orange will turn yellow with age. Josh's Frogs does not recommend, support, or endorse line breeding as we believe this leads to weaker captive animals and nature has done a wonderful job of creating an amazing variation in color and pattern of poison dart frogs already.


Social Behavior: Dendrobates leucomelas does well housed in groups, as long as enough space is provided. Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 10 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 10-12 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of Dendrobates leucomelas may change, and female leucs may eat each other's eggs. For that reason, many breeders recommend keeping bumble bee poison dart frogs in pairs as adults. I routinely keep leucomelas in groups - they may not breed as well as they could in pairs, but a group of leucs is sure fun to watch! Josh's Frogs strongly recommends against housing different species/morphs of dart frogs - for the health of your pets, please avoid mxing! Josh's Frogs recommends purchasing multiple frogs if you are interested in breeding them – this greatly increases the chances of getting a pair.


Breeding: Leucomelas are very simple and easy to breed. Breeding bumble bee poison dart frogs can be challenging at times, as this species tends to be a very seasonal breeder - frogs may need exposure to a dry period in order to 'get into the mood'. Generally, eggs are deposited on a smooth broad leaf, or on a petri dish under a cocohut. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults. For more information on breeding and raising poison dart frogs, please read our tips on Breeding Poison Dart Frogs.


Natural Range: Dendrobates leucomelas occurs in Colombia, Brazil, British Guyana, and Venezeula. This morph is from Venezuela, but specific locale information is not available. Bumble Bee Dart Frogs occur in humid rainforest among leaf litter, and can be found congregating in humid spaces under rocks or logs during the dry season. Leucs are considered a species of least concern by the IUCN, and can be quite common in the wild.


History in the Hobby: Dendrobates leucomelas have been a mainstay in the frog hobby since it's inception. Leuc popularity grew greatly in the 1990s, as many individuals were imported from Venezuela along with tropical fish. Josh's Frogs works with several lines of Dendrobates leucomelas, and pairs different lines with each other to maintain genetic variability in the frogs we sell.


Links of Interest:
Wikipedia article on the Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog
Dendrobates leucomelas at the IUCN

 South America Dart Frogs -  Species 


Dendrobatidae :

Aromobatidae :

Madagascar Dart frogs


bottom of page