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Poison Dart Frog: The New River

October 29, 2014

One of the more stunning frogs I’ve kept is the Dendrobates tinctorius. As a species, it is extremely variable in what it looks like depending on where it is found. One of my favorite variations of the D tinctorius is the “New River”. Found along the New River in Surinam and northern Brazil (who would have guessed that, given the name?) it is not necessarily an easy frog to find in the US. When you see it in person, you’ll see why I say that pictures don’t do it justice.

“New River” is a very large dart frog, in fact one of the largest besides Phyllobates terribilis, the famed Golden Poison Frog. The most obvious difference is color though!  The NR is light blue to turquoise on the top of the head and back, with large irregular black spots from the belly up to the head.  The blue has a very iridescent quality to it that gets washed out with a camera flash.

The legs, underbelly and chin are dark blue with small black spots.

Like most other dart frogs, the NR prefers small, if not tiny, prey.  In their native habitat, they eat anything that happens to wander in front of them; ants, beetles, flies, spiders, isopods and the like.  While it would be great if I could offer this sort of variety to the frogs in my care, I feed them fruit flies, bean beetles, springtails and occasionally very small woodlice.  Despite their large size, NRs tend to be picky when it comes to food size.  The smaller the better.


You can bet that there are a lot of little springtails and woodlice living in that leaf litter.  More resident fauna in your vivarium equates to less feeding and work by you!

If you get the chance to check out a New River tinctorius, I highly recommend the opportunity.  They are diurnal (active during the day), bold and have plenty of personality as far as frogs go.  Mine recognize that when I come up to the tank they are likely going to be given something to eat, and do their best to crawl out of the vivarium and into my hand!

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