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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]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Oophaga arborea (Myers, Daly, and Martínez, 1984) Polkadot poison frog Panama
Korreldragende-gifkikker-3.jpg Oophaga granulifera (Taylor, 1958) Granular poison frog Costa Rica and Panama
Oophaga histrionica.jpg Oophaga histrionica (Berthold, 1845) Harlequin poison frog El Chocó region of western Colombia
Oophaga lehmanni.jpg Oophaga lehmanni (Myers and Daly, 1976) Lehmann's poison frog western Colombia
Oophaga occultator (Myers and Daly, 1976) La Brea poison frog Cordillera Occidental in the Cauca Department of Colombia
Strawberry dart frog.jpg Oophaga pumilio (Schmidt, 1857) Strawberry poison-dart frog eastern central Nicaragua through Costa Rica and northwestern Panama
Oophaga speciosa (Schmidt, 1857) Splendid poison frog Cordillera de Talamanca, western Panama
Dendrobates sylvaticus PLoS.jpg Oophaga sylvatica (Funkhouser, 1956) Diablito poison frog southwestern Colombia and northwestern Ecuador.
Oophaga vicentei (16985201179).jpg Oophaga vicentei (Jungfer, Weygoldt, and Juraske, 1996) Vicente's poison frog Veraguas and Coclé Provinces of central Panama


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.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  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.