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O. pumilio morphs

Dendrobatid frogs are fascinating creatures for many reasons, including their bright colors, toxic secretions, bold personalities, and their complex social behavior. There are certainly many incredible dart frogs, but personally the species that excites me on the most different levels is Oophaga pumilio.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about pumilio is the fact that they are “egg feeders”. In this group of species, the female not only carries each tadpole to an appropriate drop off site, but she then returns every few days to lay a clutch of unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to eat. A female may care for as many as eight (two to four being a much more typical number) tadpoles at one time. These eggs are the tadpoles sole source of food, and efforts to raise them on other foods have so far been unsuccessful. Such a level of care is, to say the least, quite unusual in the ranks of amphibians.

Another fascinating thing about pumilio is all the different morphs that occur over their relatively small range. This diversity reaches a peak on the eastern coast of Panama, and a group of islands that lie a few miles off the coast, called the Bocas Del Toros. Here it seems that every island has at least one unique form of pumilio, and in many cases two or three exist on the same island!
The taxonomy of this species was recently revised, and the species was renamed Oophaga, so the correct name for these frogs is now Oophaga pumilio.
O. pumilio are truly some of the most interesting and rewarding dart frogs to keep. When a pair is kept in a well set up terrarium, the male will call regularly, and in many cases breeding will occur, allowing you to watch the female care for the tadpoles, and to enjoy the sight of new babies emerging from their bromeliad axils!

Listed below are some of the forms of O. pumilio that we either currently work with, or have worked with in the past.