top of page

4- Dendrobates auratus - The green-and-black poison dart frog   :

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The green-and-black poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus), also known as the green-and-black poison arrow frog and with numerous other names,[1][2] is a brightly colored member of the order Anura native to Central America and northwestern parts of South America. This species has also been introduced to Hawaii.[1][2][3] It is one of the most variable of all poison dart frogs next to Dendrobates tinctorius and some Oophaga spp. It is considered to be of least concern from a conservation standpoint by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1]

Dendrobates auratus

D. auratus from Panama

Conservation status :




Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1]

Scientific classification:







Species:D. auratus

Binomial name:

Dendrobates auratus
(Girard, 1855)

Synonyms :

Phyllobates auratus Girard, 1855 "1854"
Dendrobates latimaculatus Günther, 1859 "1858"
Dendrobates amoenus Werner, 1901

Description :


The green-and-black poison dart frog has the typical appearance of the members of its family. Males average 0.75 inches (1.9 cm), while females are slightly larger, averaging an inch or longer. The green-and-black poison frog typically has mint-green coloration; however, this pigment can also be forest, lime, emerald green, turquoise, or even cobalt blue or pale yellow. Mixed with this typically green are splotches of dark color, ranging from wood brown to black. The green-and-black poison dart frog is one of the most variable of all poison frogs in appearance; some have black or brown splotches, others are dappled, or have "splashes" of black, like Oophaga sylvaticus.


Distribution :


The green-and-black poison dart frog is found in the humid lowlands from southeastern Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope and southeastern Costa Rica on the Pacific versant through Panama to northwestern Colombia (Chocó Department).[1][2][4] An introduced populations exist on Oahu;[1][2][3][5] the species was on purpose introduced there in 1932 for mosquito control. Later on, it seems to have also become established on Maui.[3]

Poison :


The green-and-black poison dart frog, while not the most toxic poison dart frog, is still a highly toxic animal. The very small amount of poisonthe frog possesses is enough to make a human heart stop beating. However, like most poison dart frogs, the green-and-black poison dart frog only releases its poison if it feels threatened, and wild specimens can be handled provided the human holding it is calm and relaxed. The green-and-black poison dart frog, as with all poison dart frogs, loses its toxicity in captivity due to a change in diet. This has led some scientists to believe that the green-and-black poison frog actually takes its poison from the mites and other insects on which it feeds.[6]

Range in red (Hawaiian population introduced)

Behavior :


The green-and-black poison dart frog is semiarboreal, hunting, courting, and sleeping in the trees. However, as it is a small frog, it cannot jump far enough to span the distances between trees, so it returns to the ground when it wants to travel. To assist in climbing, the frog has small, sucker-like discs on the ends of its toes, which create a slight suction as the frogs climb, making their grip mildly adhesive.


Reproduction  :


Like all poison dart frogs, green-and-black poison dart frogs gather in large groups before mating. They squabble over territories; eventually, each individual male frog clears a small patch for himself. Females wander among the males, with the latter then attempting to impress the former with their bird-like mating calls. Once a male has caught the attention of a female, he leads her to a site he has selected for egg deposition. The female lays her eggs, which he then fertilizes. In about 14 days, these hatch into tadpoles.[7] Their parents, typically the male, then carry the tadpoles into the canopy, with the tadpoles sticking to the mucus on their parents' backs. The parents then deposit their tadpoles into the small pools of water that accumulate in the center of bromeliads, and guard the tadpoles while they feed on algae and small invertebrates that inhabit the tiny pool.


As pets :


Green-and-black poison dart frogs are popular exotic pets due to their small size, bright colors, and intriguing behavior. As with all frogs, they have permeable skin and should not be handled.

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

Video : 

Care Articles : 


1- Dendrobates Auratus care sheet 

courtesy to :


Green Black Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)



Dendrobates Auratus are from the Family Dendrobatidae. Dendrobates Auratus populations can be found throught the humid lowlands of southern Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama. They are diurnal frogs that are very active and make very intresting pets. Males are the smaller of the species attaing around 1 inch while females will obtain 1.5 inches.




Dendrobates Auratus are a bright species whos colouration and pattern ranges depending on locality and/or morph. Nicaraguan and Costa Rican specamins are green and black while the Kahlua & Creme morph range in coloration from brown on bronze to specamens with green and/or blue markings on a bronze backing. Panamanian morphs consist of blue and black, to a more traditional green and black. The Panama Canal is yet another morph which is black/brown with slight green markings . The green may be either a few green spots, or short bars of green. the Turquoise morph is blue or green and range from pure green to a bright blue on a backing of black to bronze.





In captivity Dendrobates Auratus  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 Auratus will soon loose their toxicity when in captivity.




Dendrobates Auratus are small amphians but do require a fair ammount of space, a vivarium 18Lx18Wx12H will house a pair quiet comfortably. They are a terrestrial species but will make some use of the areas mid way up the vivarium, so some cliimg potential is adviced. Dendrobates Auratus do best either housed in sexed pairs, all male groups or a large group of males and females in a ration of  two males to each female. Dendrobates Auratus are territorial and will fight over breeding sites and feeding locations, so it’s important to provide lots of hiding spots and cover. Dendrobates Auratus 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 Auratus 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 Auratus, 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 Auratus 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 Auratus require temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees in the day with a drop to 67 degrees at night.




Dendrobates Auratus 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  --  CLICK HERE 




A Very shallow water area should be provided as Dendrobates Auratus will use it to replenish their natural water reserve, BUT Dendrobates Auratus 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 Auratus 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 Auratus 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 Auratus dart frog care sheet

courtesy to :

Caging: a ten gallon is fine for a D. Auratus pair, although bigger is always better. For beginners, however a ten, fifteen, or a twenty is the best.


Temperature and lighting: this can be from low 70’s F to mid 70’s F, 80 F is usually avoided, with a drop as low as 65F at night. This can be achieved with a few fluorescent bulbs; dart frogs are very fragile to heat and die if too much is given. Heat pads are avoided, as well as heat lamps. I suggest getting a hygrometer for humidity and a thermometer for heat, have a few fluorescent bulbs and if you can get up to 75F at least you will be all right. If you choose to use heat lamps put a small fan or two next to them, so that the heat will not be as hot. The reptiglow compact daylight 2.0 and reptiglow tropical compact 5.0 seem to be excellent as a light source


Sexing: Auratus are one of the most difficult to sex, though there are several ways to determine the sex of your frog. One way is toepads, the males have larger toepads, although this is very difficult to determine. Another way is that the females are “plumper” the most easiest and obvious is that females are more round with a pear shaped belly and most weight is at their hips while their backs are more “bumped” and more arched whereas males backs are flatter.  The age of when you can properly sex your frog is when they are 9 months old at which point they go through a huge growing spurt.  Note:Only males call


Note: when sexing ancon hills, females have polka dots while males have bars and spots

Toxicity: in the wild dart frogs eat an insect in the wild that gives them their toxicity, in captivity, however, they lose their toxicity after a few months, if brought from the wild.


Humidity: a false bottom setup works well and be sure to mist at least twice a day or use a misting setup bought or homemade, you can either place a piece of glass over half of you tank lid or plastic wrap half to keep humidity in


Setup: this can be from 2in gravel with small corner slope with a substrate on top topped off with sphagnum moss. Then plants, hides, maybe a background, or you can have a false bottom:


 1- Cut a couple pieces of pvc (have as many to hold the eggcrate and the dirt and accessories) according to your wish of height and if you plan to have waterfall feature and hide your pump underneath your eggcrate then you need to cut them longer so the pump will fit under your eggcrate. The eggcrate is actually a white lighting grid purchasable at homedepot.


2- Once the pvc is silicone to the eggcrate and maybe to the bottom of the aquarium, you may place your substrate topped with sphagnum moss on place of it. Then the hides, backgrounds, plants, and other features are added.

Leaf litter:leaf litter is where you have dead leaves scattered throughout the vivarium, this provides cover for your frogs and makes them bolder and thus allowing you to see them more, good types of leaves can be oak, (from your backyard if you have a oak tree) Indian almond leaf, which can be used as tea and a water conditioner/food for tadpoles( or magnolia leaves, oak and magnolia last longest from rot and decompose the slowest, so you need to change them out, also remember when bringing in leaves, boil them for 10 minutes to get rid of parasites and other unwanted ailments that could harm and maybe kill your frog. Really any leaf can be used, as long as they aren’t poisonous, or been exposed to pesticide or chemicals.

False bottom pros: the false bottom accomplishes many things: humidity where the water barely wets the substrate. It is a safe way for water for your dart frogs, it keeps the substrate from getting muddy and the plants don’t get waterlogged.


False bottom note: you can position this in any way, from two big pieces connected by little eggcrate ramps or one big piece with a ramp into the water.


Plants: bromeliads (a dart frog favorite and a must), orchids, ferns and anything from blackjungle. When buying plants wash them thoroughly and check for any bugs so you’re not putting spiders, ants, centipedes, or any unwanted insects in your tank


Water features: this is not absolutely necessary but nice to look at and your frogs can appreciate it as well. My favorite waterfall idea is stacked pieces of slate (purchasable at homedepot)


1- Have a few pieces of slate stacked

2- Find the arrangement you like and pour a little trickle of water down to get your water flow right

3-  If you can, get a cork tube and cut it in half and place it under the slate allowing the water from the pump tubing inside the siliconed slate stacked waterfall to flow down the slate and into the tube and into your water. If you can’t get a cork tube, you can take a few measurements of how long you need the stream to go into your water, go to ace hardware and have them cut your pieces of glass for your stream and then place this under your waterfall (Also instead of slate you can use river rocks or rocks from Michael’s (be sure to wash Michael’s rocks) or you can use both slate and (or river) rocks)


Food: Fruit flies are the main course, though if you can, they will eat pinhead crickets (which are 1/8in and hard to come by). Although you can order fruit flies, you can also culture them. You can look online for a medium which is a food item and egg laying substrate for your fruit flies. Other food items are field plankton and springtails, though when brushing a field for plankton make sure it is pesticide and other chemicals free.


Springtails- springtailsa re small bugs, they live in your vivarium under leaves and what not eating fungus and frog “stuff”, the frogs also eat these little bugs whenever they find them, thus these bugs keep you tank clean and provide as a treat for your frog


Feeding: dart frogs eat once a day, feed each frog from 15-40 insects a day be it pinhead crickets or one of the two fruit flies, drosophila melanogaster and drosophilia hydei. The hydei is the larger species, although the smaller are more popular. Because D. auratus are one of the largest species of dart frogs, the better choice would be the Hydei. Adults may eat every other day (specifically 3-4 times a week) , but froglets have to eat every day. Putting a piece of fruit in your tank draws the uneaten insects to it and either allows the frogs to eat them up or for you to take them out


A word of caution: be careful not to overfeed, check with your seller to see how often they feed.


Culturing fruit flies: this is actually fairly easy 1. get a jar, mason, pickle, pasta, anything. Punch small holes into the lid and cover (before adding lid) with a lady stocking, paper napkin, or a tight netting (this prevents the flies from climbing all over the roof of the lid and make a mess when you open it) 2. Purchase a small tube of flies at a pet store or order at least 20 from an online store such as Little pieces of cardboard, coffee filters and solid items go in the jar followed by your medium choice and then the flies come. It takes about a week for the babies to be laid they will look like little white things and then brown cocoons and then an additional two weeks for hatching. 3. Move babies to a different jar (this can be achieved by tapping all the flies off the walls of th jar and pouring them into a funnel and into the ready jar) and throw out the original culture when gets moldy, or when mites start to show up, but it is best to throw out the culture after 5weeks, or when they stop producing. If you plan to reuse the jar take the lid off and place it outside for a week and then wash it. 4. Add 1/3 of your mix to the jar and once you find a mix that suits you, it is just a matter of experimenting with how much is good and dealing with the seasons. Note: this recipe is pretty good for D. hydei, it is best to have a backup, a second or third culture in case one crashes where it stops producing and/or starts dying


Banana and Apple Sauce Mix 
by Anthony Hundt


1 cup banana (about 2 bananas) 
1 cup apple sauce 
1/8 cup vinegar (or 2 tablespoons or 15 ml) 
2 cups oatmeal 
a few granules of baker's yeast (this can be Fleishmann’s yeast)


Put banana and apple sauce in blender or bowl and mix until the banana is liquified. Heat in the microwave for approximately 2 min. or until hot enough to kill off any wild fruit fly eggs that were in the bananas, and to reduce mold.  Add the vinegar and mix in oatmeal until it becomes firm, but still moist. Put the mixture in wide mouth quart canning jars and allow to cool.  Once cooled, add the yeast and flies.  Any unused media can be frozen until needed.


Makes approx. 6 quart jar cultures at a cost of $0.18 per culture



Supplement: one way is to purchase herptivite and rep cal d3mix in a cup 50/50 and then add the dust to your food items in a cup swirling them around until fully coated. Dust items 3-4 times a week. However, due to some vitamins getting in more than others, most people alternative between the two. Maybe rep cal for 2 days and then the next two days herptivite and this process keeps going. Or maybe one day herptivite and the next rep cal


Note: the dusting is complicated for when dusting fruit flies, seeing as how all dusts were made for dusting crickets which have some vitamin A while fruit flies have none, thus we must be careful with how we dust, vitamins break down faster than the calcium, so it is a constant calcium and vitamin competing match for “taking out” the other


A warning note: most people throw out their supplement after 6 months, because the vitamins begin to degrade, also when buying make sure the paper lid in the container that you have to peel off is still on the container and not stuck to the roof of the lid, this means it has been opened and the air has been degrading the vitamins and insuring less vitamins for your frogs


Warning: dart frogs are not good swimmers thus provide aquatic plants, gravel, river rocks, cork bark, driftwood, and easy access from water. Dart frogs are excellent climbers (yes, they climb the glass) keep the lid tight. If your frog does, escape put out tinfoil with water in it, the frog will get in the water and crinkle the foil notifying you where it is


Breeding: matures at 1-1 ½ yrs of age. “Setting the mood” involves lots and lots of misting and shutting down your lights and stop watching them and lots of bromeliads, black film canisters, and/or coco huts.


1-The male will choose a calling site and call to the female, if the female accepts, she will approach the site where the two will stroke each other, the females will then lay the eggs in plants, leaves, or wherever there is a little puddle of water and the male will fertilize them (some people place black film canisters in their tanks where the adults will place their eggs, then they tip the canister into a dish etc. continued in caring for eggs and tadpoles).


2- Then once hatched, one of adults (usually the male) will carry them about the tank depositing them in the water where the tads will eat algae and plant matter. Water temp best be kept at 70F-75F. Development will usually take 60-90 days; the froglets should be moved to their own 10 gallon and then placed in their own setups upon almost reaching adulthood.


3- Temperature is part of breeding role but some pairs/groups have a rhythm with season, food supply, temperature, humidity, the gaps in breeding are good opportunities to get nutrition into your adults, specifically females (who do produce the eggs and good nutrition equals healthy babies) some females may eat their own eggs, males can be aggressive towards defending their eggs, so as soon as your male defends other females or the female parent will cease to devour the eggs.


Caring for eggs and tadpoles: if you plan to care for the eggs yourself, (allow 24-48 hours before removing)


1. Carefully remove the eggs with a piece of glass or maybe a thick knife, (if they are laid on leaves, just cut the leaf off) make sure you don’t flip them over onto their “back” or they will die. Water temp should be kept at 70F-75F, once hatched tadpole bites (off line) ( Note: the parents will take care of the babies, just be prepared to help if the water location loses its water or something else drastic happens if you decide to let your adults care for the froglets)


2. When the froglet gets its arms, (this takes 12weeks) take it out and put it in a bucket (or a ten gallon tank) with a ½ inch of water with a ramp onto some dirt with sphagnum moss and hides with a few small plants, (cover top with mesh to prevent escape) tadpoles should be fed two times a week, pour a little water out and adding fresh water whenever cloudy (for both tadpoles and froglets


3. Now start feeding fruit flies with herptivite and d3 dusting twice a week and feed them every day.


But of course you can always take the eggs and have them in a petri dish in a gladware container with sphagnum moss under the dish, in the dish you put “tadpole tea” made from Indian almond leaves, mist once a day. (Note: the dish in the container is left in the adult tank for them to care for)


Behavior and notes:


        dart frogs are territorial, especially females who will eat each other’s eggs and sit on each other’s heads in water until they drown. Males are not as territorial but still are.


  •  D. auratus is one of the easiest and largest dart frogs, and are the only adults that can be kept in a 10-15 gallon long. Other dart frogs can be kept in these as froglets but as adults require larger vivariums.


  •  The awesome color of dart frogs is to warn predators they are poisonous.


  • Dart frogs are diurnal and seldom seen during the day, however leaf litter can make them bolder and you can see them more. 


  • When you see your dart frog hunched up and pushing themselves off the ground, you are witnessing a defensive posture.


  • If you “ignore” your dart frogs when it is time to fed they may stand at the front of their tank or climb the glass until you feed them.


  • Auratus is one of the most unaggressive dart frogs, although they do a little wrestling or fighting or eating each other’s eggs (only females do that) they are not very territorial


  • dendro- Greek for tree

  • most (or all) auratus calls are a faint buzz

  • dart frogs can by bought offline at many sites or shows


 South America Dart Frogs -  Species 


Dendrobatidae :

Aromobatidae :

Madagascar Dart frogs


bottom of page