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P. terribilis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae
Subfamily: Dendrobatinae
Genus: Phyllobates
Duméril and Bibron, 1841

6, see text

Phyllobates is a genus of poison dart frogs native to Central and South America, from Nicaragua to Colombia.

Phyllobates contains the most poisonous species of frog, the golden poison frog (P. terribilis). They are typical of the poison dart frogs, in that all species have bright warning coloration (aposematism), and have varying degrees of toxicity. Only species of Phyllobates are used by natives of South American tribes as sources of poison for their hunting darts. The most toxic of the many poisonous alkaloids these frogs emit from their skins is batrachotoxin, alongside a wide variety of other toxic compounds.


Phyllobates (Ancient Greek for "leaf climber") used to contain many of the species which are now within the genus Ranitomeya.[1] However, it now just contains those six members within the Phyllobates bicolor species group. These are:

Group Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
P. lugubris species group Phyllobates lugubris.jpg Lovely poison frog Phyllobates lugubris (Schmidt, 1857) southeastern Nicaragua through Costa Rica to northwestern Panama
Phyllobates vittatus - Tiergarten Schönbrunn 2.jpg Golfodulcean poison frog Phyllobates vittatus (Cope, 1893) Costa Rica.
P. bicolor species group Phyllobates bicolor.jpg black-legged poison frog Phyllobates bicolor (Duméril and Bibron, 1841) Chocó area in western Colombia
Pbaurotaenia2.jpg Kokoe Poison Frog Phyllobates aurotaenia (Boulenger, 1913) Pacific coast of Colombia
Phyllobates Aurotaenia Red & Violets.jpg Phyllobates sp. aff. aurotaenia [2]
Golden Poison dart frog Phyllobates terribilis.jpg Golden poison frog Phyllobates terribilis (Myers, Daly, and Malkin, 1978) Pacific coast of Colombia.

All these different species within the genus exhibit a diversity in color. Some examples are, P. terribilis, with color morphs of "mint", "yellow", and "orange". P. vittatus, another example, is always black as a ground color, but can show yellow stripes, orange stripes, red stripes,(stripes of all colors can be seen in two forms, narrow- and wide-banded) and turquoise, green, or blue legs, etc. The bicolor dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor) can range from yellow to orange, from black legs to green legs, to almost a uniform color of any of the aforementioned color morphs. P. aurotaenia specimens are yellow-banded or orange. They are always smaller than P. vittatus, and beyond locality, this is the best way to differentiate between the two in the field or in the hobby.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stefan Nilsson (2004), The Frog Prince-Royalty or Hallucination? Poisons of the Amphibian Skin (PDF), Bioscience Explained
  2. ^ "Google Translate".