Phyllobates vittatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Dendrobatidae

Scientific Name: Phyllobates vittatus (Cope, 1893)
Common Name(s):
English Golfodulcean Poison Frog, Golfodulcean Poison-arrow Frog
Dendrobates tinctorius ssp. vittatus Cope, 1893
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-07-14
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Jaramillo, C., Bolaños, F., Solís, F., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Fuenmayor, Q. & Ibáñez, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Young, B.E. & Nowakowski , J.
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 4,080 km2, its population is considered to be severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in Costa Rica.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known from the lowlands of the Golfo Dulce region of south-western Costa Rica, from 20-550 m asl (Savage 2002), and was recorded from close to the city of Dominical in the Provincia de Puntarenas of Costa Rica (Ryan 2002). It is expected to occur in parts of immediately adjacent south-western Panama. Its range, taken as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), is estimated at 4,080 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):20
Upper elevation limit (metres):550
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Several subpopulations occur in Costa Rica. This species typically occurs at low densities, but is regularly recorded. It is considered extremely rare in Dominical, Costa Rica, where it was last recorded in 2002. The subpopulations on Osa Peninsula seem to be isolated from one another. The population outside of Osa Peninsula is considered to be severely fragmented (G. Chaves and A. García pers. comm. 2013).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a diurnal, terrestrial species associated with streams in primary lowland moist and wet forests. Eggs are usually deposited on leaves above the ground; the male carries hatching larvae to small pools to complete their development (Savage 2002).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Adults are potentially at risk from over-collection for the pet trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is threatened by forest clearance for agricultural land and tree plantations. Water pollution caused by contamination from gold mining activities may also be a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Much of the species' range is in three protected areas in Costa Rica, including Parque Nacional Corcovado. There is a need for strengthened management of these sites, and expanded protection to include other remnant forest patches in Costa Rica. Management practices that could allow a commercial, sustainable harvest of this species for the pet trade should be investigated, and a legal framework and enforcement is needed to address the illegal trade. It is listed on CITES Appendix II. Research is needed on population trends, current threats and natural history as well as monitoring of its subpopulations to assess the impact of the pet trade.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
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
  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 -> 2.1.3. 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 -> 2.2.3. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

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

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

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.2. Seepage from mining
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

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

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

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Ryan, M. 2002. Geographic distribution: Phyllobates vittatus. Herpetological Review: 318.

Savage, J.M. 1968. The dendrobatid frogs of central America. Copeia: 745-776.

Savage, J.M. 1976. A preliminary handlist of the herpetofauna of Costa Rica. 2nd edition. Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, San José.

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. 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.

Weygoldt, P. 1987. Evolution of parental care in dart poison frogs (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae). Zeitschrift für zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung: 51-67.

Zimmermann, H. 1982. Durch Nachzucht erhalten: Blattsteigerfrosche Phyllobates vittatus and P. lugubris. Aquarien Magazin: 109-112.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe. 2013. Phyllobates vittatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T55265A3026493. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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