Dendrobates auratus / Golden dartfrog - Care
|Scientific name:||Dendrobates auratus|
|English name:||Golden dartfrog|
|Average age:||12 years|
|Reproduction:||oviparous / egglaying|
|Cites:||B / II|
Dendrobates auratus, (Girard, 1855)
The Dendrobates auratus in captivity is a much loved, kept and bred species of poison dart frog. This species adapts fairly easily to various conditions and is thus also a good option for the novice poisondart frog lover. With the years many new variations, locality forms and types have come available all with their unique appearance, requirements and also behaviour.
Physical characteristics: The nominate form is black with a green pattern. There are many variations depending on the origin and line. There are animals in Panama that have a blue pattern instead of green or there are animals that are mostly black with just a few spots. On average this frog measures 3.5 to 5cm. Males are smaller and slimmer then the females.
Behaviour: They are diurnal frogs mainly found on the ground between fallen branches, leaves and tree trunks. Each frog will defend its small territory against intruders. The call of the male sounds more like a buzz or hum then the typical whistle of many other dartfrogs. The call of the frogs is intended to make clear to rival males that territory is occupied and to call females to meet and mate with him. In the paludarium this species proves himself to be an active frog that’s is in general not shy but this depends heavily on the variant that is kept. Some forms can be much shyer as the other, so do some research to decide which variant suits you best.
Origin and habitat: This species has a large distribution in Panama, Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua to the western part of the Choco region of Colombia. In Hawaii lives a introduced population that is primarily gold in appearance. This Dendrobates occurs from 0 to 1500m above sea level. They are diurnal frogs mainly found on the ground and between fallen branches and tree trunks. On the coast and along dry riverbeds live populations that are mainly found between and along the round boulders that surround the coast and river beds.
Husbandry: This poison dart frog likes warm and humid conditions, a daytime temperatures of 25C to 27C is sufficient. During the night the temperature may drop 2 to 3C but not lower as 20C. They are mainly bottom dwellers so a setup with a large ground surface is important. A couple can be kept in a terrarium of at least 50x50x50cm. For a group of 2.3 / 2.4 a terrarium with a ground surface of 90x45 minimum is advised. Each frog will look for and have its own territory. Thus offering more options than frogs at various levels in the residence is important. There may arise fights to defend these territories. If there is an animal that seems to have no private place, and often falls in combat because it is dominated by other occupants of the terrarium. It is best this frog is separated from the group or the setup is adjusted to create more suitable hides. Because of constant fights and the stress caused to an individual it may stop feeding, have a lower resistance and eventually die. Dendrobates auratus can deposit their tadpoles in bromeliads but highly prefer a larger body of water like a puddle or small slow moving stream. Cover the soil with a thick layer of leaves, fern pieces and moss. The animals will love to hide in this layer and will also forage this area for food.
Because of the wide variety and local forms it is advisable to do some research on the conditions in their country of origin as these may vary depending on the natural habitat they live in. When you purchase a poisondart frog ask the breeder how they keep the parents so you are sure you recreate the right conditions in you terrarium.
Diet: The base consists of fruit flies and small tropical woodlice, springtails, green lice and bean beetles. You can feed small ‘dust’ crickets (Cricket size 2) and adults will fee don them. But make sure all are eaten right away. An cricket that can hide will grow fast in the conditions of the paludarium and if this cricket gets to big it can damage plants and your frogs. Supplement your feeder insects twice a week with a complete vitamin or calcium supplement.
Reproduction: The Dendrobates auratus will breed all year round in captivity. As with all poison dart frogs the males take care of the eggs that are often deposit in a bromeliad close to a waterhole. When the eggs are fertilized they will take about 10 till 19 days to hatch after which the father will let the tadpoles climb on his back to move them to a water basin or bromeliads filled with water. Often, one at a time, sometimes with more than one. Although the tadpoles of this species are not strictly cannibalistic there are cases of the tadpoles eating each other. Also the amount of tadpoles in one water section can influence the growth and development of the tadpoles so it is best to raise them individually.