Ranitomeya variabilis

This is one of the best thumbnail frogs for the beginner. The fact that they can be kept in small groups without concern for negative interactions is a major plus. Their beautiful bright green, gold and blue coloration makes them stunning to look at. Although they are very similar looking to imitators, overall I have to say they are a bit nicer looking. Highly recommended!



All this and more came out of a single egg deposition site (bromeliad axil). Obviously someone needs to check for eggs more often!


Nice pictures of these developing eggs, with the external gills clearly visible. These will be absorbed or lost when the tadpole hatches from the egg.
Synonyms Locality
Variable Dart frog Mountainous areas around Tarapoto Peru
Temps Humidity Terrarium Preferences
Mid seventies to around eighty Like most thumbnail frogs, these frogs like very high humidity, and breeding and visibility will be greatly enhanced if the humidity is high Fine in ten to twenty gallon tanks. Height not particularly important, these frogs will forage on the floor of the tank, and court and lay eggs in the upper part of the tank.
Size Visibility in the tank Groups of these compatible
a good size thumbnail, especially females. A bit larger than other standard vents. moderately shy, but not bad really. Yes! Unlike most other thumbnail frogs, these frogs do well in small groups of their own species. We have had great luck with them in 1.2 groups, but other combinations seem to work as well.
Experience Level Compatible with other species?
Intermediate in general, but beginner for thumbnails Not really recommended, especially for beginners. However in theory they could easily be kept with a more terrestrial larger species, such as D. azureus. Keep in mind that in a larger tank it may be more difficult to observe the frogs.
Breeding Status in Hobby
Readily spawns in the tank. Lays large clutches of eggs in bromeliad axils, or other water pool. Tadpoles can be touchy, but over all a fairly easy species to breed. This used to be a relatively commonly available frog, back in the mid nineties, however it had completely faded from the scene by about 2000. Recent imports from the Inibco project have brought this frog back into the hobby, and it’s great to have them back!
Our Availability Links for this frog
Often available. There are two forms identified, a Southern, and a Nominal form. The frogs we offer are the Nominal. Click here to check availability.