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Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog

Dendrobates leucomelas

Henry Vilas Zoo Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog

This brightly-colored frog is sometimes called the “Bumblebee Poison Dart Frog” for its distinctive, yellow and black-striped body. Toxic when eaten, this frog is native to the jungles of South America but is easily bred in captivity. The largest species of its genus, females are usually bigger and thicker than males, and each frog’s markings are unique to him or her.

Habitat: The yellow-banded poison dart frog lives in South America, making its home on the rainforest floor: among leaf-litter, on open rocks, near rivers or rivulets, under logs, and on trunks of fallen vegetation. This frog is rather adaptable to habitat disturbance.

Diet: This frog is an insectivore, feeding on mostly ants (from which it derives its skin toxins).

Family Life: Male frogs will chirp, buzz, trill, and hum to get a female’s attention, while also showing off their brightly colored bodies. After the female frog lays her eggs, it is the male who protects the eggs until they hatch into tadpoles. Then, the male frog carries the tadpoles on his back to small pools of water where they continue to develop.

Henry Vilas Zoo Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog

The yellow-banded poison dart frog’s endangered status remains in the least concern category.

Henry Vilas Zoo Least Concern Graphic
Henry Vilas Zoo Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog
  • The yellow-banded poison dart frog is a fairly abundant species, however, it has been difficult to monitor its current conservation status.
  • They have often been involved in the pet trade, as they are easily able to breed in captivity.
  • Habitat loss and deforestation pose the primary threats to this species, with the timber and agricultural industries playing a large role in the destruction of the frog’s natural habitat.
Henry Vilas Zoo Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog
Fun Facts
  • This frog doesn’t have webbed feet, but it does have unique adhesive pads on its toes and fingertips that help it climb.
  • Females lay anywhere from 100 to 1,000 eggs per year.
  • These frogs need to eat at least every other day. They can die if they go 48 hours without food.
  • Some people have observed that these frogs have a “sweet tooth” for caterpillars.
Henry Vilas Zoo Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog
Quick Facts

CLASS: Amphibia (amphibians)
ORDER: Anura (frog)
FAMILY: Dendrobatidae (dart frogs)
GENUS: Dendrobates (poison dart frogs)
SPECIES: Dendrobates leucomelas (yellow-banded posion dart frog)
LIFE SPAN: 5 – 7 years (wild) / 10 – 15 years (zoo)
SIZE: 1.2 – 2 inches (3.1 – 5 cm)
WEIGHT: 0.11 oz (3 g)


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