The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Dendrobates tinctorius
Dendrobates tinctorius
(Dyeing Poison Dart Frog, Blue Poison Dart Frog)

Copyright Info
Dendrobates tinctorius (Cuvier, 1797)

Common name: Dyeing Poison Dart Frog, Blue Poison Dart Frog

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: A relatively large and highly variable poison dart frog. Morphs can range from a background blue color with black spots to varying degrees of black body with yellow or white markings and typically with blue arms and legs (Wollenberg et al., 2006).

Size: 3-4.5 cm svl

Native Range: Native to parts of the eastern Guiana Shield, including areas of French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil (AmphibiaWeb, 2022; IUCN, 2021).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Dendrobates tinctorius are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CA202120211San Pablo Bay

Table last updated 6/12/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: In a study of D. tinctorius diets in French Guiana, ants comprised approximately 80% of all dietary items found in frog stomachs, followed by beetles and mites at 6-7% each (Born et al., 2010).

Pairs of D. tinctorius laid clutches of 2-14 eggs in the leaf litter; after about 14-28 days of development males carry 1-2 tadpoles at a time and deposit them in water-filled palm bracts, bromeliad axils, or tree holes (AmphibiaWeb, 2022; Born et al., 2010). The tadpoles are omnivorous, feeding on detritus, insect larvae, and the eggs and tadpoles of other frogs. Metamorphosis from tadpole to frog takes 90-120 days (Born et al., 2010).

Means of Introduction: Likely an escaped or released pet.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. Research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made. Captive bred individuals are typically not poisonous unless fed a special diet (Caldwell, 1996).

Remarks: Until they were synonomized by Wollenberg et al. (2006), Dendrobates tinctorius and D. azureus were considered to be separate species. In their native range their diet of ants and other insects create poisonous compounds which are exuded from the skin when handled; however, the diet of insects fed to individuals in captivity does not produce these compounds (Caldwell, 1996).

References: (click for full references)

AmphibiaWeb. 2022. Dendrobates tinctorius: Dyeing Poison Frog. https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1646. Created on 10/16/2022. Accessed on 01/08/2024.

Born, M., F. Bongers, E.H. Poelman, and F.J. Sterck. 2010. Dry-season retreat and dietary shift of the dart-poison frog Dendrobates tinctorius (Anura: Dendrobatidae). Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology 9(1):37-52.

Caldwell, J.P. 1996. The evolution of myrmecophagy and its correlates in poison frogs (Family Dendrobatidae). Journal of Zoology (London) 240:75-101. https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1996.tb05487.x.A

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 2021. Dyeing Poison Frog Dendrobates tictorius. https://www.iucnredlist.org/es/species/55204/61395760. Created on 04/13/2021. Accessed on 01/10/2024.

Wollenberg, K.C., M. Veith, B.P. Noonan, S. Lötters. 2006. Polymorphism versus species richness—systematics of large Dendrobates from the eastern Guiana Shield (Amphibia: Dendrobatidae). Copeia 2006(4):623-629.

Author: Jonathan Freedman

Revision Date: 1/10/2024

Citation Information:
Jonathan Freedman, 2024, Dendrobates tinctorius (Cuvier, 1797): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=3873, Revision Date: 1/10/2024, Access Date: 6/12/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/12/2024].

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