Dendrobates auratus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Dendrobatidae

Scientific Name: Dendrobates auratus (Girard, 1855)
Common Name(s):
English Green And Black Poison Frog, Gold Arrow-poison Frog, Golden Poison-arrow Frog, Green and Black Poison-arrow Frog, Green and Black Poison-dart Frog, Green and Golden Poison-arrow Frog, Green Poison-arrow Frog, Green Poison Frog
Dendrobates auratus (Girard, 1855)
Dendrobates amoenus Werner, 1901
Dendrobates latimaculatus Günther, 1859
Dendrobates tinctorius ssp. auratus Laurent, 1942
Hylaplesia aurata (Girard, 1855)
Hylaplesia tinctoria ssp. latimaculata Dunn, 1941
Phyllobates auratus Girard, 1855
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Jaramillo, C., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Köhler, G., Jungfer, K., Bolívar, W. & Bolaños, F.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A. & Young, B.E.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in the humid lowlands from southeastern Nicaragua on the Atlantic slope and southeastern Costa Rica on the Pacific versant to northwestern Colombia (Golfo de Uraba on the Caribbean coast and the lower Atrato River drainage and Bahia Solano on the Pacific coast) (sea level up to 1,000m asl). In 1932, 206 specimens of D. auratus from Taboga or Taboguilla Islands, Panama were released in the upper Manoa Valley, Oahu, Hawaii in an attempt to control non-native insects (Silverstone, 1975; McKeown, 1996). A few feral populations of D. auratus descended from these animals still persist in the mountains and valleys of Oahu.
Countries occurrence:
Colombia; Costa Rica; Nicaragua; Panama
United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is an abundant species that is often seen and regularly recorded throughout its range. There is great geographic variation in the appearance of this species; over 15 distinct colour morphs of wild D. auratus have been recorded. (Heselhaus, 1992). The blue morph of D. auratus present on the Pacific side of Panama is believed to be threatened with extinction (Heselhaus, 1992).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is an arboreal and terrestrial diurnal species of humid lowland and submontane forest. It is also found in dense secondary growth and cocoa plantations (Kitasako, 1967). The adults are often associated large buttressed trees. Males are essentially non-territorial, but occasionally engage in aggressive competition (Wells, 1978). The species is polygynous; females actively compete for males and attempt to guard their mate from others. The species shows a high degree of paternal care. After oviposition upon leaf-litter the male guards and cares for the clutch of three to 13 eggs (Silverstone, 1975; Schafer, 1981; Heselhaus, 1992). On hatching (13-16 days in captivity) the tadpoles are carried by the male to a stagnant water body in a tree-hole, the leaf axil of a bromeliad (up to 30m from the forest floor), or a small ground pool (Eaton, 1941; van Wijngaarden, 1990). Wild tadpoles feed on protozoans and rotifers, and metamorphose after 39-89 days; in captivity, sexual maturity is attained at between six and 15 months (Eaton, 1941; Silverstone, 1975; Summers, 1990; Zimmermann and Zimmermann, 1994). A reduction in the number of egg clutches and tadpoles maintained by the male results in a more rapid development of the eggs and higher growth rate of tadpoles (Wells, 1978; Summers, 1990). Longevity of at least six years reported in captivity (Zimmermann and Zimmermann, 1994).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is a general loss of suitably wooded areas and collection for the international pet trade. Owing to the apparently low fecundity of this species, the possibility exists that over harvesting, especially in the more rare morphs, might contribute to localized population declines. Approximately 18,500 specimens of D. auratus were reported in trade over the period 1991 to 1996. The great majority of specimens were live animals, exported from Nicaragua, and presumably destined for the herpetological pet market. The USA was by far the largest single importer of D. auratus (about 15,000 animals in total) during this period. It is believed that the trade in Nicaragua was decreasing by 2002 because of over collection. McKeown (1996) states that populations on Oahu are highly sensitive to destruction of their habitat and over collection. Museum specimens of this species have been found to have chytrid fungi, the current impact of this pathogen on D. auratus is not known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES, and the species occurs within many protected areas. Within Colombia, Decree INDERENA No. 39 of 9 July, 1985, forbids the collection of Dendrobates spp. from the wild for breeding (or other) purposes. Nicaragua has established CITES export quotas for this species.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
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 entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  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

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 -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ 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

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

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.4. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Davies, R.W. and Davies, V.C. 1986. The rearing and breeding of Dendrobates auratus in captivity. British Herpetological Society Bulletin: 24.

Eaton, T. 1941. Notes on the life history of Dendrobates auratus. Copeia: 88-93.

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

Ibañez, R., Rand, A.S. and Jaramillo, C.A. 1999. Los anfibios del Monumento Natural Barro Colorado, Parque Nacional Soberanía y areas adyacentes. Mizrachi, E. and Pujol, S.A., Santa Fe de Bogota.

Ibáñez, R., Solís, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: J.D. Johnson, R.G. Webb and O.A. Flores-Villela (eds), Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation, pp. 159-170. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Kitasako, J.T. 1967. Observations on the biology of Dendrobates pumilio Schmidt and Dendrobates auratus Girard. M.S. Thesis, University of Southern California.

McKeown, S. 1996. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands. Diamond Head Publishing, Los Osos, California.

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.

Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between two Continents, between two Seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Silverstone, P.A. 1975. A revision of the poison-arrow frogs of the genus Dendrobates Wagler. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin 21: 1-55.

Summers, K. 1990. Paternal care and the cost of polygyny in the green dart-poison frog. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology: 307-313.

van Wijngaarden, R. 1990. Enkele klimaatgegevens en waarnemingen in de biotoop van de gifkikkers Phyllobates vittatus en Dendrobates auratus. Lacerta: 147-154.

Wells, K.D. 1978. Courtship and parental behaviour in a Panamanian poison-arrow frog (Dendrobates auratus). Herpetologica: 148-155.

Young, B., Sedaghatkish, G., Roca, E. and Fuenmayor, Q. 1999. El Estatus de la Conservación de la Herpetofauna de Panamá: Resumen del Primer Taller Internacional sobre la Herpetofauna de Panamá. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia.

Zimmermann, E. and Zimmermann, H. 1994. Reproductive strategies, breeding, and conservation of tropical frogs: dart-poison frogs and Malagasy poison frogs. In: Murphy, J.B., Adler, K. and Collins, J.T. (eds), Captive management and conservation of amphibians and reptiles, pp. 255-266. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca (New York). Contributions to Herpetology volume 11.

Citation: Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Jaramillo, C., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Köhler, G., Jungfer, K., Bolívar, W. & Bolaños, F. 2008. Dendrobates auratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T55174A11250892. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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