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Oophaga granulifera Taylor 1958

Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)

Common name

Granular Poison Frog, Granular Poison-arrow Frog, Granulated Poison-dart Frog



Species description based on Savage (2002). A small poison frog (males to 25 mm). Male's throats are green or black; the throat of females is red.


Dorsal coloration is variable. Most individuals are red, except for the hind limbs, which are a vibrant bluish-green. Other individuals are yellow or green or red all over; yellow or green individuals with or without some reddish coloration on the arms (Savage 2002). The dorsal skin is granular.


The ventral surface is generally greenish-blue, with or without black spots.

Life history

Breeding season

Breeding occurs during the rainy season (Savage 2002). Males call from vegetation in the forest during the early part of the day and late in the afternoon (Savage 2002). Males and females engage in ritualistic courtship behaviors (Crump 1972). Amplexus occurs with the two individuals joining their vents and facing in opposite directions (Crump 1972).


Females lay 2-4 eggs at a time (Savage 2002).


The tadpole is small, with a very long tail with almost no tail fins (Savage 2002).

Ecology behavior and evolution


The diet consists of numerous types of small arthropods,including ants (Savage 2002).


Oophaga granulifera is diurnal (Savage 2002). It inhabits leaf litter, but is often found climbing trees and shrubs, or along stream margins (Savage 2002).


A harsh series of "chirps" (Myers and Daly 1976, Myers et al 1995).

Behavior and communication

Males are territorial, and will engage in wrestling bouts with intruding males if necessary (Crump, 1972, van Wijngaarden and van Gool 1994). Males guard eggs until they hatch, at which time the female returns to transport them to phytotelmata to continue development (Savage 2002). Females deposit unfertilized eggs for tadpoles to consume (Savage 2002).


2N = 20 (Rasotto, Cardellini and Sala 1987)

Taxonomy and systematics


  • Kingdom:Animalia


Taylor 1958


Dendrobates granuliferus, Ranitomeya granuliferus

Type locality

on low mountains, north of the Río Diquis, about 3 miles north of Palmar, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Habitat and distribution


Lowland forest below 100 m.


Costa Rica, Panama


Oophaga granulifera distribution
Distrubution map (IUCN)


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Crump, ML. 1983. Opportunistic cannibalism by amphibian larvae in temporary aquatic environments. American Naturalist 121: 281-289.

Crump, ML. 1972. Territoriality and mating behavior in Dendrobates granuliferus (Anura: Dendrobatidae). Herpetologica 28(3): 195-198.

Duellman, WE. 1993. Amphibian Species of the World: Additions and Corrections. Special Publication. Natural History Museum, University of Kansas 21: iii + 372.

Goodman, DE. 1971. Territorial Behavior in a Neotropical Frog, Dendrobates granuliferus. Copeia 1971(2): 365-370.

Grant, T, DR Frost, JP Caldwell, R Gagliardo, CFB Haddad, PJR Kok, DB Means, BP Noonan, WE Schargel, and WC Wheeler. 2006. Phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives (Amphibia: Athesphatanura: Dendrobatidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 299: 1-262.

Ibáñez, R, F Solís, C Jaramillo, and AS Rand. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: Johnson, JD, RG Webb, and OA Flores-Villela. Eds. Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

Lotters, S, KH Jungfer, FW Henkel, and W Schmidt. 2007. Poison Frogs. Biology, Species & Captive Maintenance. Frankfurt am Main: Edition Chimaira.

Meyer, E. 1992. Erfolgreiche Nachzucht von Dendrobates granuliferus Taylor, 1958. Herpetofauna, Weinstadt 14(76): 11-21.

Meyer, E. 1993. Fortpflanzung und Brutflegeverhalten von Dendrobates granuliferus Taylor, 1958 aus Costa Rica (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae). Veroff. Naturhisdt. Mus. Schleusingen.

Meyer, E. 1996. Ökologie und Biogeographie des zentralamerikanischen Pfeilgiftfrosches Dendrobates granuliferus TAYLOR. Dissertation, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.

Myers, CW and JW Daly. 1976. Preliminary evaluation of skin toxins and vocalizations in taxonomic and evolutionary studies of poison-dart frogs (Dendrobatidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 157(3): 173-262.

Myers, CW, JW Daly, HM Garraffo, A Wisnieski, and JF Cover, Jr. 1995. Discovery of the Costa Rican poison frog Dendrobates granuliferus in sympatry with Dendrobates pumilio, and comments on taxonomic use of skin alkaloids. American Museum Novitates 14(3144): 1-21.

Rasotto, MB, P Cardellini, and M Sala. 1987. Karyotypes of five species of Dendrobatidae (Anura: Amphibia). Herpetologica 43(2): 177-182.

Savage, JM. 1968. The dendrobatid frogs of Central America. Copeia 1968(4): 745-776.

Savage, JM. 1974. Type locality for species of amphibians and reptiles described from Costa Rica. Revista de Biologia Tropical. San Jose 22: 71-122.

Savage, JM. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between two Continents, between two Seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Silverstone, PA. 1975. A revision of the poison-arrow frogs of the genus Dendrobates Wagler. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin 21: 1-55.

Taylor, EH. 1958. Additions to the known herpetological fauna of Costa Rica with comments on other species. No. III. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 39: 3-40.

van Wijngaarden and F Bolanos. 1992. Parental Care in Dendrobates granuliferus (Anura: Dendrobatidae), with a Description of the Tadpole. Journal of Herpetology 26(1): 102-105.

van Wijngaarden, R, and S van Gool. 1994. Site fidelity and territoriality in the dendrobatid frog Dendrobates granuliferus. Amphibia-Reptilia 15(2): 171-181.

Additional resources