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Oophaga pumilio Zoo.jpg
Oophaga pumilio
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae
Subfamily: Dendrobatinae
Genus: Oophaga
Bauer, 1994
Type species
Dendrobates pumilio
Schmidt, 1857
9 species (see text)

Oophaga is a genus of poison-dart frogs containing nine species, many of which were formerly placed in the genus Dendrobates.[1] The frogs are distributed in Central and South America, from Nicaragua through the Colombian El Choco to northern Ecuador (at elevations below 1,200 m (3,900 ft)).[1][2] Their habitats vary with some species being arboreal while other being terrestrial,[3] but the common feature is that their tadpoles are obligate egg feeders.[3][1][4]


Oophaga, Greek for "egg eater" (oon, phagos),[5][6] is descriptive of the tadpoles' diet.[7][8]


While presumably all dendrobatids show parental care, this is unusually advanced in Oophaga: the tadpoles feed exclusively on unfertilized eggs supplied as food by the mother; the father is not involved.[1][4] Through the eggs, the mother also passes defensive toxins to the tadpoles: Oophaga pumilio tadpoles experimentally fed with eggs from alkaloid-free frogs did not contain alkaloids.[9]


There are nine species in this genus:[2]


Oophaga are kept as pets, but they are challenging to breed in captivity. Oophaga pumilio, however, is easier to breed and popular.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Grant, T., Frost, D. R., Caldwell, J. P., Gagliardo, R., Haddad, C. F. B., Kok, P. J. R., Means, D. B., Noonan, B. P., Schargel, W. E., and Wheeler, W. C. (2006). "Phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives (Amphibia: Athesphatanura: Dendrobatidae)" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History. 299: 1–262. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2006)299[1:PSODFA]2.0.CO;2. 
  2. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Oophaga Bauer, 1994". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Oophaga — the obligate egg feeders". dendroWorks. 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Vitt, Laurie J.; Caldwell, Janalee P. (2014). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (4th ed.). Academic Press. p. 490. 
  5. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=-phagous
  6. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=egg
  7. ^ Heselhaus, R. 1992. Poison-arrow frogs: their natural history and care in captivity. Blandford, London.
  8. ^ Zimmermann, E. and Zimmermann, H. 1994. Reproductive strategies, breeding, and conservation of tropical frogs: dart-poison frogs and Malagasy poison frogs. In: J.B. Murphy, K. Adler and J.T. Collins (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.
  9. ^ Stynoski, J. L.; Torres-Mendoza, Y.; Sasa-Marin, M.; Saporito, R. A. (2014). "Evidence of maternal provisioning of alkaloid-based chemical defenses in the strawberry poison frog Oophaga pumilio". Ecology. 95 (3): 587–593. doi:10.1890/13-0927.1. PMID 24804437.