Dyeing poison arrow frog

Latin Name
Dendrobates tinctorius




A small, brightly colored frog, the dyeing poison arrow frog can reach up to 2 inches in length. It has a patterned black-and-white back; the legs are blue with black spots. The species' bright colors warn potential predators of the frog's toxic skin.



The dyeing poison arrow frog is found in French Guinea and northeastern Brazil.


This species can be found widely throughout its range. However, amphibians around the world are facing crisis due to habitat loss and disease.


The dyeing poison arrow frog lives in South American rain forests. The frogs spend much of their time in trees or the moist leaf litter of the rain forest floor.


Like many frogs, this species feeds primarily on insects, favoring ants, termites and small spiders. Few predators prey on the dyeing poison arrow frog, as the frog's bright coloration warns of a toxic meal.

Life History

Male frogs compete to establish breeding territories during mating season. Afterward, they attract females with elaborate vocalizations. After breeding, eggs are laid on the ground or on leaves. The male is responsible for maintaining eggs until they hatch, a process that typically takes 12–14 days. He then carries the tadpoles to a body of water, where they mature.

Special Adaptations
  • In the wild, dyeing poison arrow frogs gain their toxicity through the insects they eat. Because the frogs at the zoo are fed a different diet—crickets and fruit flies—they are no longer toxic, although they still maintain the bright coloration of their wild cousins.
  • Adhesive pads on the frogs’ fingers and toes facilitate climbing.

Bonus Content

All Eyes...and Ears
Whether they’re spotting prey or seeking a mate, animals depend on these senses to interpret the world around them. We take a peek—and listen in—on some standout features.

The dyeing posion arrow frog's tongue might not be long, but it's awfully fast.

Creepy Critters—Dyeing Poison Arrow Frogs
Toxic skin protects dyeing poison arrow frogs against predators, but they remain vulnerable to the amphibian crisis threatening frogs across the globe.


ARKive Media

ARKive image - Female dyeing poison frog (blue morph)ARKive video - Dyeing poison frog - overview (blue morph)ARKive image - Male dyeing poison frog, dorsal view (blue morph)

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit