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Ranitomeya fulgurita (Silverstone, 1975)

Ranitomeya fulgurita

This species, with the Red List status “least concern” (LC), occupies the area from Panama east of the Canal Zone to northwestern Colombia in the Departamentos Chocó, Valle del Cauca and Risaralda, at 160-800 m a.s.l.. Its natural habitat is in the shaded leaf litter of primary rainforests of the lowlands but these frogs can also be found in epiphytic bromeliads up to 1.5 m above the ground. The temperatures there range from 24 to 27˚C during the day and from 18 to 20˚C at night.

Females can grow up to 16.5 and males to 15 mm in length. Their upper side is black, with a contrasting green or yellow pattern that comprises a slightly irregular dorsolateral line from the tip of the snout to the upper insertion point of the thigh. They also have a discontinuous or reduced median line, a line on the upper lip that extends to the insertion of the arm, and a shortened lateral line. Blackish brown legs and belly have a green, yellowish green or yellow marbled pattern.
When guiding a female to an oviposition site, the male uses a stilted gait. Once arrived, the female executes wiping movements with the hind legs which takes 20-30 minutes, while at the same time the male sits impassively beside her. He then seeks physical contact for less than a minute by supporting himself with either one or both hands on the female or pushing himself obliquely up on her. There is no amplexus.

The male the leaves the site, while the female stays behind and lays from 1 to 5 eggs in the next 20-80 minutes. These eggs later turn out to be fertile if they are removed at this stage, implying that the male has released his sperm earlier (usually during the contact phase with the female). It then takes further 13-15 days for the larvae to develop and hatch, only the male will occasionally return to the eggs and sit on them, apparently to water them. Once they have emerged, the male takes 1-4 days to relocate the larvae to water-filled leaf axils of bromeliads. After being carried off, usually one at time or sometimes in groups (nevertheless only one per nursery), no further parental care is provided.

This frog’s humming call consists of a series of pulsed notes, between 0.478 and 0.556 s long, and consists of 69-85 pulses. The species can handle only the smallest prey such as springtails, aphids, newly hatched crickets, small fruit flies, etc. It is believed they also feed on ants and mites, since such contents were discovered in preserved wild-caught specimen.
R. fulgurita often shares its natural habitats with the related Ranitomeya minuta. In such circumstances it is notable that R. fulgurita is much more scarce than its close relative.

The most suitable for this species is the small Type I terrarium with leaf litter-covered floor, some bromeliads at various levels and patches of dense vegetation. In a terrarium, the eggs are preferably laid in black film containers, in Petri dishes placed below halved coconut husks, or in the leaf axils of bromeliads.