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Ranitomeya amazonica (Schulte, 1999)

Ranitomeya amazonica

These inhabitants of primary and secondary forests are ranked as “data deficient” (DD) on the Red List. They are believed to live in the Amazon Basin from Iquitos in Departamento Loreto, Peru, to the eastern Guayana Shield. However, this species is reliably confirmed only for a restricted area of about 70 km around Iquitos, at about 120 m a.s.l.. The surroundings of Iquitos, marked by many patches of white sand, provide so little nutrition that forests are limited to sparse stands of stunted trees. The resultant great intensity of light reaching the ground enables large numbers of bromeliads to grow on the floor. These so called “varillales” are the natural habitat in which both R. amazonica and R. reticulata are regularly found on the ground. This species is also presumed to make use of epiphytic bromeliads, living as a tree-dweller in these situations.

The females grow to reach 18 mm, while the males are only slightly smaller. Their basic color is black, with a contrastive yellow to orange red pattern. At the level of the anterior margins of the eyes begin the upper edges of a Y on the back, formed by the black component of the pattern, while its marking ends at the cloaca. Occasionally, one of the upper shanks of the figure Y may be separated from the other two. Some specimens often have a black spot just above the snout and sometimes a yellow or orange red ventrolateral stripe, which is delimited ventrally with black. The frog’s black flanks are sometimes laced with a lighter pattern while the ventral side and limbs are bluish to greenish, dotted with black. The yellow to orange lower side of the head has large black blotches on the lateral margins of the throat and medially in front of the collar bone.


A typical characteristic is the male’s humming call that can be heard clearly right after a misting session.
R. amazonica feed on springtails, aphids, fruit files, tiny crickets, firebrats, white woodlice, etc. For keeping at home a spacious terrarium of the Type I is most suitable in which the bromeliad vegetation should partition the tank into several minor stories. As spawning sites one can use black film containers that are mounted at various levels of the terrarium and should always be kept slightly moist.

This species of frogs, that is fairly agile but tends to become quite tame with time, has probably been relatively long kept and propagated in terraria but was regarded only as a color variety of R. ventrimaculata.
These frogs are best kept in pairs or smaller groups in spacious terraria where the temperatures vary from 25 to 27˚C. It is of high importance to maintain high levels of relative humidity for their successful propagation. Another precondition is also frequent misting, along with some bromeliads and film containers that are half filled with water and ought to be present around the mid-level of the terrarium.


Raising the eggs or subsequent tadpoles artificially is easy. The latter are namely highy cannibalistic and therefore need to be raised in isolation and fed a diet that includes fish food, mosquito larvae, etc. and should be as varied as possible.
Moving the froglets from their original terrarium during their first two months is not advisable since they respond very badly to stress of any kind in this early period. They mature at an age of 9-12 months.
Representatives of the yellow and orange red forms interbreed under the conditions of a terrarium. Captive breeding is also known to have produced bastards between R. amazonica and R. reticulata, whis is surprising as both species occur syntopically in nature. Also known are hybrids R. amazonica x R. variabilis.