Phyllobates bicolor 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Dendrobatidae

Scientific Name: Phyllobates bicolor Duméril & Bibron, 1841
Common Name(s):
English Black-legged Poison Dart Frog, Two-toned Arrow-poison Frog , Two-toned Poison Frog
Spanish Rana Kokoi Amarilla
Phyllobates chocoensis Posada Arango, 1869
Phyllobates melanorrhinus Berthold, 1845
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2016. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (31 March 2016). New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-05
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Angulo, A.
Contributor(s): Mejía, D., Gómez, D., Vargas-Salinas, F., Bernal, M.H., Gutierrez, P., Lötters, S. & Bolívar, W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Neam, K., NatureServe
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 3,484 km2, it occurs in four to five locations, and there is a continuing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat due to illegal crops, cattle grazing, and mining activities.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs on the western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental in Colombia, in Risaralda, Chocó and Valle del Cauca Departments. It occurs between 600 and 1,280 m Asl (M. Bernal, F. Vargas-Salinas, D. Mejía pers. comm. 2016). Records of this species in Calima, Valle del Cauca need to be confirmed and therefore have not been included in this assessment. The subpopulations from Cauca formerly attributed to this species are now described as Phyllobates terribilis. Its EOO is 3,484 km2 and it is considered to occur in four or five threat-defined locations.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:4-5
Lower elevation limit (metres):600
Upper elevation limit (metres):1280
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It was formerly considered to be common, but is now an uncommon species and therefore it is inferred that the population trend is decreasing.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This diurnal frog lives in the leaf litter, close to streams in tropical moist lowland and premontane forests. It can survive in logged forest, but not in open areas. It breeds continuously throughout the rainy season (March–November). The female lays a clutch of 12–20 eggs in a covered nest in the leaf litter (Halliday 2016). The male guards the eggs and keeps them moist, and, upon hatching he transports the larvae to pools in streams where they continue to develop.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is known to be traditionally used by native Colombians, such as the Chocó Indians of the Emberá group living near the headwaters of the Río San Juan, to poison their blow-gun darts (Myers et al. 1978). It occurs in the international pet trade and is a common frog in U.S. hobby shops, but it is easy to breed in captivity. Legal exportation of this species out of Colombia has been banned since 1985.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats include habitat loss due to cattle grazing, mining, and pollution from illegal crop-spraying. The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is present within the range of this species; however, no individuals have yet been tested for chytridiomycosis so it remains unclear whether the species is affected.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
It occurs in Tatamá National Park. Decree INDERENA No. 39 of 9 July, 1985, forbids the collection of Phyllobates spp. from the wild in Colombia for breeding (or other) purposes. It is listed on CITES Appendix II. 

Research Needed
Further survey work in the southern part of the distribution is needed to establish the limits of the species' range. Additional research on this species' distribution, population trends, ecology, and threats is recommended.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder 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 -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ 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

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Acosta Galvis, A.R. and Cuentas, D. 2016. Lista de los Anfibios de Colombia: Referencia en linea V.05.2015.0. Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia Available at:

Bernal, M.H., Solomon, K.R. and Carrasquilla, G. 2009. Toxicity of formu- lated glyphosate (Glyphos) and Cosmo-Flux to larval Colombian frogs. 1. Laboratory acute toxicity. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 72: 961–965.

Castro-Herrera, F. and Bolívar-G., W. 2010. Libro Rojo de los Anfibios del Valle del Cauca. Feriva Impresores S. A., Cali, Colombia.

Castro-Herrera, F. and Vargas-Salinas, F. 2008. Anfibios y reptiles en el departamento del Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Biota Colombiana 9(2): 255-277.

Halliday, T. 2016. The Book of Frogs: A Life-size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

Lötters, S., Castro Herrera, F., Köhler, J. and Richter, R. 1997. Notes on the distribution and color variation of poison frogs of the genus Phyllobates from western Colombia (Anura, Dendrobatidae). Revue Francaise d'Aquariologie 24: 55-58.

Lötters, S., Jungfer, K-H., Henkel, H-W. and Schmitz, W. 2007. Poison Frogs: Biology, Species & Captive Husbandry. Chimaira, Frankfurt/Main.

Lynch, J.D. and Arroyo, S.B. 2009. Risks to Colombian Amphibian Fauna from Cultivation of Coca (Erythroxylum coca): A Geographical Analysis. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 72: 974-985.

Lynch, J.D. and Suárez-Mayorga, A.M. 2004. Catálogo de anfibios en el Chocó Biogeográfico. In: J.O. Rangel (ed.), Colombia Diversidad Biótica IV, El Chocó Biogeográfico/Costa Pacífica. Volumen I, pp. 633-668. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Conservación Internacional, Bogotá, Colombia.

Myers, C.W., Daly, J.W. and Malkin, B. 1978. A dangerously toxic new frog (Phyllobates) used by Embera Indians of western Colombia with discussion of blowgun fabrication and dart poisoning. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 161(2): 307-366.

Rueda-Almonacid, J.V. 1999. Anfibios y Reptiles amenazados de extinción en Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas Fisicas y Naturales 23(Special Suppl.): 475-497.

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.

Silverstone, P.A. 1976. A revision of the poison arrow frogs of the genus Phyllobates Bibron in Sagra (Family Dendrobatidae). Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin 27: 1-53.

Valencia-Zuleta, A., Jaramillo-Martínez, A.F., Echeverry-Bocanegra, A., Viáfara-Vega, R., Hernández-Córdoba, O., Cardona-Botero, V.E., Gutierrez-Zuniga, J. and Castro-Herrera, F. 2014. Conservation status of the herpetofauna, protected areas, and current problems in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 8(2): 1-18.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2017. Phyllobates bicolor. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T55262A85887396. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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