Oophaga pumilio 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Dendrobatidae

Scientific Name: Oophaga pumilio (Schmidt, 1857)
Common Name(s):
English Strawberry Poison Frog, Flaming Poison-arrow Frog, Flaming Poison Frog, Red-and-blue Poison Frog, Strawberry Poison-dart Frog
Dendrobates galindoi Trapido, 1953
Dendrobates ignitus Cope, 1874
Dendrobates pumilio Schmidt, 1857
Dendrobates typographicus Oertter, 1951
Dendrobates typographus Keferstein, 1867
Hylaplesia ignita (Cope, 1874)
Hylaplesia pumilio (Schmidt, 1857)
Hylaplesia typographa (Keferstein, 1867)
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at: http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-06-19
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hobin, L.
Contributor(s): Wetterau, A., Klocke, B., Gratwicke, B., Jaramillo, C., Solís, F., Chaves, G., Köhler , G., Sunyer, J., Savage, J., Cox, N.A. & Ibáñez, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Wetterau, A.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification and presumed large population.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species' geographic range is the Atlantic versant, humid lowlands and premontane slopes in central northern Nicaragua from 0-960 m asl (Sunyer and Köhler 2010), south through the lowlands of Costa Rica and northwestern Panama (including many islands in Bocas del Toro), from 1-495 m asl (Savage 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica; Nicaragua; Panama
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):960
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a common species throughout its range. The species exhibits significant colour and pattern polymorphism especially among populations in the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama (Summers et al. 1997). Populations in forest habitat at La Selva, Costa Rica, seemed to have experienced a decline but populations are increasing in nearby cacao growth areas (Whitfield et al. 2007).  More recently, the species was common at La Selva (Folt and Reider 2013) and surrounding secondary forests (Hilje and Mitchell Aide 2012).  Elsewhere in Costa Rica the species appears to be increasing due to the increase of garden-like habitats where the species is most abundant; it is abundant at Guayacan (Kubicki, 2008) and no declines have been noted at Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica (Puschendorf et al. 2006). Sub-populations are suspected to occur in Braulio Carrillo National Park, Corcovado National Park, and Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. The species is common but decreasing on Mancarroncito Island, Nicaragua (Barquero et al. 2010), and in southeastern Nicaragua this species is abundant (Sunyer et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a diurnal and mostly terrestrial frog of humid lowland and premontane forest, cacao plantations, and abandoned forest clearings. The species has been detected in forest-palmito, forest-pasture, palmito, and pasture at one site in Costa Rica (Kurz et al. 2014).  

Males appear to be fiercely territorial; individual territories have been estimated at 2.5 m2 (Donnelly 1989). Observations concerning mating behaviour suggest that some O. pumilio are at times polygynous (McVey et al1981, Donnelly 1989, Zimmermann and Zimmermann 1994). Females lay a clutch of three to nine eggs in moist leaf-litter; clutch sizes in captive specimens of six to sixteen eggs have been recorded (Limerick 1980, Silverstone 1975). There appears to be no information on the number of clutches laid annually. O. pumilio eggs hatch approximately seven days after oviposition, adults then carry the developed tadpoles from the forest floor to water filled bromeliads (Limerick 1980). O. pumilio tadpoles have a very specialized oophagous diet, feeding solely on food eggs supplied by the female (Heselhaus 1992, McVey et al. 1981, Zimmermann and Zimmermann 1994). There is little available information on wild larval development; Heselhaus (1992) reports that captive tadpoles fed an artificial diet "grow slowly, taking four to six months, a third longer than with natural feeding, to reach metamorphosis". Sexual maturity is reached at a minimum size of 19 mm (approximately 10 months). 

There are few data on longevity; Donnelly (1989) concluded that the population at Finca La Selva, Costa Rica was mostly comprised of ‘long-lived’ adults; Zimmermann and Zimmermann (1994) gave longevity of 4 years for captive O. pumilio.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is listed under CITES Appendix II. Exported from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama for the pet trade and trade in this species consists of 7% of the global trade in CITES-listed amphibians with 33,000 traded internationally between 1978-2008 (Carpenter et al. 2014). Different localities and colour morphs are highly-sought after in collections.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss (from urbanization, agriculture and logging) and over-collection for the pet trade are the principal threats to this species. It is believed that the species is currently being unsustainably collected, and because of the apparently low fecundity of this species, the possibility exists that over-harvesting might lead to localized population declines. Distinct island forms are particularly susceptible to both over-collection, and the development of islands for tourism purposes. The great majority of reported trade over the period 1991 to 1996 was in live animals, presumably by the herpetological pet market. The largest overall exporter of O. pumilio between 1991 and 1996 was Nicaragua (>95% of exports); the USA consistently accounted for over 80% of recorded live O. pumilio imports from Nicaragua during this period, and the species makes up 7% of all CITES amphibian trade (Carpenter et al. 2014).  Chytrid fungus was not detected in Bastimentos populations in Panama (Richards et al. 2008), but it has been found on museum specimens of this species, as well as in captive collections in Europe (Spitzen-van der Sluijs 2011). In Costa Rica, individuals have been found to be infected with ranavirus, and chytrid fungus, as well as co-infected with both pathogens (Whitfield et al. 2013). A lowland population in Costa Rica was found to have high prevalence (16/40) of chytrid fungus, though there seems to be seasonal variation in Bd presence within populations (Whitfield et al. 2013). The current impact of this pathogen on O. pumilio is not known. At La Selva, observed declines seem to be driven by climate-driven reductions in quantity of standing leaf litter (Whitfield et al. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions 
This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES and is found in several protected areas within its range. A well-studied population of O. pumilio is present in the Finca La Selva Biological Reserve, northeastern Costa Rica (Donnelly 1989, Limerick 1980, McVey 1981, Pröhl 1997). Within Panama the species is present in a number of protected areas including Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park within the Bocas del Toro archipelago (Summers et al. 1997). In Nicaragua, it is known to occur in the Reserva de la Biosfera del Sureste de Nicaragua which includes the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Los Guatuzos, and Reservas Naturales Cerro Kilambé and Cerro Musún, and Reserva Natural Privada Las Brumas (Galindo-Uribe et al. 2014). Nicaragua has also established a CITES 2001 export quota of 3,450 specimens for this species.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Marginal season:resident 

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.5. Other impacts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ]
♦ timing:Unknown ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

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Carpenter, A.I., Andreone, F., Moore, R.D. and Griffiths, R.A. 2014. A review of the international trade in amphibians: the types, levels and dynamics of trade in CITES-listed species. Oryx 48(4): 565-574.

Donnelly, M.A. 1989. Reproductive phenology and age structure of Dendrobates pumilio in northeastern Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology: 362-367.

Folt, B., and K. E. Reider. 2013. Leaf-litter herpetofaunal richness, abundance, and community assembly in mono-dominant plantations and primary forest of northeastern Costa Rica. Biodiversity and Conservation: 1-14.

Galindo-Uribe D., Sunyer J., Hauswaldt J.S., Amézquita A., Pröhl H. & Vences M. 2014. Colour and pattern variation and Pleistocene phylogeographic origin of the strawberry poison frog, Oophaga pumilio, in Nicaragua. Salamandra 50(4): 225-235.

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

Hilje, B., and T. Mitchell Aide. 2012. Recovery of amphibian species richness and composition in a chronosequence of secondary forests, northeastern Costa Rica. Biological Conservation 146: 170-176.

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Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Oophaga pumilio. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T55196A3025630. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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