Other common names: Bumblebee Poison Frog; Orange and Black Poison Frog; Yellow and Black Poison Frog, Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog, Yellow-headed Poison Dart Frog
Scientific name: Dendrobates leucomelas
It is no surprise that these rainforest beauties are among the most desirable of all amphibian pets. The colors of the Bumblebee Dart Frog are so spectacular as to appear unreal, and they are active by day and care for their tadpoles in “mammal-like” fashion…and are not at all shy about doing so!
The Bumblebee Dart Frog’s natural range extends from Columbia’s Amazonian region through the Orinoco River Basin of Venezuela to Guyana and south to northern Brazil, where it inhabits moist and wet lowland forests.
Appearance / Health:
The Bumblebee Dart Frog’s body is jet black in color and sports 3 broad bands of yellow, orange, or orange/yellow across the back. These bands, and the yellow or orange limbs, are marked with black spots and blotches. With an average length of 1.3-1.5 inches, it is one of the largest Dart Frogs. No two Bumblebee Dart Frogs are identical in pattern or color…making for some very interesting breeding results!
Well-cared-for pets may reach 15+ years of age. Calcium deficiencies and other nutritional disorders are the most commonly-encountered health problems.
Behavior / Temperament:
You can expect to see many interesting behaviors from your Bumblebee Dart Frogs, as they are very bold, and active by day. Unlike most frogs, they are always foraging, exploring, interacting, and otherwise on the go.
As is true for all amphibians, they should be handled only when necessary, and then only by being urged into a plastic container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Be wary of escapes when moving any Dart frog – they are slippery little rockets! While they do not produce their typical virulent toxins when fed standard captive diets, other skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
Bumblebee Dart Frogs do best in terrariums planted with ferns, bromeliads, and other plants. A densely-planted tank will provide you with opportunities for interesting observations, as the frogs will feel secure and behave normally. A pair or trio can be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium; larger tanks can support small groups.
These terrestrial frogs drown easily. One-half inch of de-chlorinated water should be provided in a shallow bowl or sloping pool. Poison Frogs will escape through even the tiniest of openings, so the terrarium’s cover must be secured with clips. A mix of “Eco-Earth” (coconut husk), peat moss and topsoil works well. Sheet or sphagnum moss should cover the substrate to help retain moisture.
Low levels of UVB light, and UVA, may be of some benefit. Temperatures should range from 75-84 F, and can dip to 73 F at night. Humidity of 80-100% should be maintained by keeping the moss layer damp and spraying the terrarium heavily. If your home is unusually dry, consider a small mister.
Many keepers have done well by providing their frogs with 10-day-old crickets, flightless fruit flies, and springtails, but a more varied diet is preferable. Ideally, your pets should be offered as many small insects as are available, including flour and bean beetle larvae, (available commercially), termites, ants, aphids and “meadow plankton” (insects gathered by sweeping through tall grass with a net). Native insects should be collected or trapped in pesticide-free habitats, and with care to avoid toxic and biting/stinging species.
Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin/mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.
Poison Frogs have quite large appetites and should be fed every day or two.
Mature females may be distinguished from males by their larger size and stouter build. Breeding occurs year-round, and may be stimulated by a month long period during which time misting is reduced significantly (but this is not always necessary).
The Bumblebee Dart Frog’s courtship behavior is one of the amphibian world’s most interesting and complex. Males trill and buzz to potential mates, which then follow their partners about, stroking them on the back and head. Both sexes may also circle one another and stamp their feet. Females compete for males, and may devour the eggs of others.
Eggs will be deposited on petri dishes or plastic leaves left below small, dark shelters. Females produce multiple clutches of 2-12 eggs, with a potential yearly output of 100-1,000 eggs. Males guard the eggs, and may turn them to improve access to oxygen.
De-chlorinated water in which almond leaves (available online) have been soaking should be added to the petri dish so that it just touches, but does not cover, the egg mass. Newly-hatched tadpoles are carried on the males’ backs to small pools of water. Tadpoles may be reared within the terrarium if pools are available, but most folks remove them.
The tadpoles are carnivorous and are best housed individually in small plastic containers. No aeration is necessary, but a bit of water should be poured-off and replaced every few days. The tadpoles readily accept fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and freeze-dried Daphnia. At 75-80 F, metamorphosis is achieved in 70-90 days. The tiny froglets should be offered flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, springtails and other minute insects.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
fantastic, Elegant little frogs, terrestrial tank, black dotted skin, hardy frog, beginner frog species
toxins, different pattern morphs, certain specialist breeders, husbandry mistakes, loud trill
She's So Cute!
Our first Bumblebee Frog, cleverly named "Bumblebee", was acquired in order to grow the ever-expanding frog colony in my brother's room. Easy to maintain and simple to feed (though there are now flies all over the house), it was perfect for him. He doted on Bumblebee like she was his child, and when she got depressed by a new roommate (I didn't know frogs could get depressed before this, but Bumblebee sure was convincing) he went out of his way to get her her own cage again.
I was enlisted in making this cage, and Bumblebee now lives with a little waterfall and lots of moss. She seems much happier, and you can hear her making her little chirping calls at any hour of the day (or in the middle of the night.).
From bluemaple Oct 22 2014 9:38AM
Bumblebee Dart frog aka Dendrobates leucomelas
D. leucomelas is a beautiful frog endemic throughout the northern part of south america from Brazil to Guyana. They are a terrestrial frog that is quite easy to find in the hobby because of their beautiful coloration, relative hardiness, boldness, and beautiful call. There are several different pattern morphs of this frog which range from banded pattern with a more orange coloration to a newer found morph with green feet.
D. leucomelas should be housed in a terrestrial tank, 10 gallon minimum, preferably a 20 gallon. As with any terrestrial dart frog leaf litter should cover the majority of the bottom of the tank. Under the leaf litter a layer of what some refer to "ABG" mix. ABG mix is comprised of sphagnum moss, peat moss, orchid bark, tree fern fiber, charcoal chunks(all wood), and hydroton. Though, if you want the easier do it yourself mix just mix 3 peat moss: 2 orchid bark:1 sphagnum moss:1 hydroton or lava rock pebbles. Below this is where 2 schools of thought diverge. Let's review first. On top is the leaf litter, below that is our "dirt mix" , and on the very bottom is either a layer of hydroton or a false bottom. Think of how rain naturally makes its way down into the earth. It doesn't accumulate a few inches at the bottom of a tank, it continues its way down. In a tank without a drainage layer the water would be left to stagnate and become a cesspool for bacteria. So to avoid this we make a drainage layer by either putting a couple inches of lightweight material(hydroton/lava rock pebbles) on the bottom, and some window screening on top of that to separate the dirt from the rock. That way when water accumulates at the bottom you can simply syphon the water with a small 1/4" hose.
So we covered tank size, composition, and now we will cover housing/feeding basics.
A couple water dishes should be put in the tank and changed regularly to avoid bacteria buildup. Water choices include reverse osmosis(my choice), aged tap water, or treated water. A good idea is to use petri dishes covered by coconut huts. This serves 2 functions, 1) water area 2) breeding area. Use the same water to mist your tanks about 2 times per day.
Feeding is relatively easy. Their diet will primarily be fruit flies dusted with a high quality multivitamin/calcium supplement. Feed around 3-5 times per week while only dusting around 2-3 times/week. Another great food source are springtails and isopods which are a bit harder to find but are a great source of calcium and give your frogs food if you miss a day of feeding.
Temperature should be between 68-82 degrees during the day with around a 10 degree drop at night. Usually using a uv light on top of the tank provides enough heat by itself. Just make sure to keep the tank away from direct sunlight as it will over heat the tank quite easily.
Overall, D. leucomelas is a great frog for your first dart frog. They're active, easy to keep, and bold. Look forward to a beautiful call if you end up with a male, though if you don't like a bird like trill that can be quite loud, reconsider the species you choose..
From mattolsen Oct 2 2012 12:48PM
My First Frog Experience
After a childhood of loving frogs and amphibians, I decided I wanted one as a pet. Which sounded a lot better than it actually was; and I quickly found out a frog was not the pet for me.
First off, it was a lot of work, and pretty expensive if you really want to give them an amazing living environment in their terrarium. After buying everything needed to house my amphibian friend, I felt pretty invested money wise. I was determined this is what would make my little Darwin happy. Unfortunately it took him a while to get comfortable in his new habitat and as much as he did like it after he was accustomed to it, it was no fun for me. I couldn't help but feel that he'd be so much happier in the wild, instead of such a small little area. I thought maybe another frog would help, but it just made me feel guiltier.
As much as I love frogs, and pretty much everything about them, I love them more and prefer them in their wild environment. Captivity just isn't the same thing and I ended up feeling guilty and it not being nearly as much fun as I thought it was. I'm more of a watch them in their natural habitat than a keep them in a synthetic environment and watch them. If you love fish, to watch, then a frog is probably a good pet for you. I would consider it more an extravagant expensive pet, that needs more of your money than time. Since they have such delicate skin it's recommended that they're not handled and pet very often as it can be dangerous to them. I'm just more of a holding and feeling kind of pet owner and it's just not the same. As much as I truly adore frogs, I'd prefer to see these little amphibians in the wild..
From KendraV Jan 30 2015 6:21PM