Frog of the Week

Red-backed Poison Dart Frog (Ranitomeya reticulata)

Red-backed Poison Dart Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: Red-backed Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya reticulata
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Size: 0.5 – 0.6 inches (13 – 17 mm)

The Red-backed Poison Dart Frog live amongst the leaf litter in the tropical rainforests. They are the smallest species in their genera, not even reaching an inch long. Perfect for hiding amongst the leaves.

Mating for the frog is interesting. The female lays her eggs amongst the leaf litter. She only lays two or three eggs in total. Once the eggs hatch, the male carries the tadpole to bromeliad to live in until it completes its metamorphosis. In some captive breeding colonies, the female frog has laid unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to eat.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Red-backed Poison Dart Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are numerous throughout. The main threat to the frog is habitat loss due to deforestation. Another threat is over-harvesting for the pet trade but people have had success captive breeding the species so it isn’t as big as a problem.

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