Little Devil Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga sylvatica)

Little Devil Poison Dart Frog
photo by Juan C. Santos

Common Name: Little Devil Poison Dart Frog or the Diablito
Scientific Name: Oophaga sylvatica
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog Family
Locations: Colombia and Ecuador
Size: 1 – 1.5 inches (26-38 mm)

The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog is a diurnal (active during the day) species of frogs. They are able to move about the forest floor during the day due to their bright coloration that warns predators that they are poisonous. They obtain their poisons from the alkaloid chemicals in the prey, which is primarily ants and mites.

The frogs have been found in the pet trade. Due to the frogs obtaining their toxins from their wild diet, captive bred frogs aren’t poisonous and safe to have as pets. Make sure to read my article Preparing for a Pet Frog or a Toad before considering buying one. Also make sure the frogs you are buying are captive bred.


The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog breeds all year long. The males establishes territories and guards the land from other males. Once a female selects a mate, the male leads her to a suitable breeding location. Interesting for frogs, there is no amplexus in the species. The males will deposit their sperm on the ground or in a water body. Then, the females lay between 30 – 46 eggs. After mating, the males guard the eggs until they hatch. After the eggs hatch, the female moves each individual tadpole to its own pool in a bromeliads plant. The female frog provides further care for the tadpoles by laying unfertilized eggs in the pools for the tadpoles to eat.

photo by Santiago Ron

Little Devil Poison Dart Frog Conservation

The Little Devil Poison Dart Frog is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The frog lives in the humid, tropical forests of northwestern Ecuador and southwestern Colombia coast. Sadly, they have almost completely disappeared from Ecuador and populations in Colombia aren’t doing well. The primary threat to the frogs is habitat destruction for urban areas, farms, and logging. Better protections for their habitat is needed.

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