Yellow-headed poison frog

Dendrobates leucomelas

IUCN Status: Least concern


In the wild all the denrobates species feed on small ants, termites, insects like tiny beetles, spiders. In captivity just hatched crickets, fruit flies and baby woodlice or a small arthopod called a spring tail is fed.


Eggs are laid out of water, and the tadpoles are then carried to streams or bromeliads by the adult male where they develop further. The degree and pattern of parental care varies between species of poison dart frogs. In D. leucomelas, the male does all of the parenting. The male tends to the eggs and the hatched tadpoles, and transfers them to the water-filled cavities high in the forest canopy. The female provides the eggs with nutrients to support the tadpole before it hatches, but the male continues to wet and protect the young until they are independent.

At The Zoo

All our poison arrow frogs are on exhibit immediately you enter reception. As you queue for entry they are in an enclosed cabinet which helps control the humidity and temperature.


This brightly coloured diurnal frog is found in leaf-litter, on the ground, on open rocks, near rivers and rivulets, under logs and on trunks of fallen or inclined vegetation in tropical rainforests. During the dry season, specimens congregate under rocks and fallen tree-trunks. They live in Venezuela in the Orinoco river basin and in Guyana in the Essquibo river basin.

Fun Facts

Only the adults have the famous poison used by the Amerindians. Scientists beleive this is accumlated over time from eating prey that contains minute amounts.


Dendrobates leucomelas is diurnal. Frogs live mainly on the ground, but also climb into trees. These frogs have glandular adhesive pads on their toes and fingertips, which help them to adhere to plant surfaces. This allows these frogs to climb and cling. Male D. leucomelas are very territorial and can be aggressive in defense of a calling/breeding territory. Males call from their oviposition sites to attract females. Other frog species are ignored or avoided. Territorial disputes can lead to aggressive behavior that can include grasping belly-to-belly and emitting a sporadic buzzing call. When not breeding, these animals are a solitary.