Oophaga lehmanni

Geographic Range

Oophaga lehmanni, or Lehmann's poison frog is restricted to the Anchicaya Valley near Dagua, Colombia in South America (Edobermeyer 1999).


Oophaga lehmanni is found in the rain forests of Colombia. These frogs are usually found on the ground but can sometimes be found in low bushes and trees. (Obermeyer, 1999)

Physical Description

Lehmann's poison frog is one of the larger dendrobatids at 31 to 36 mm. There are three color morphs of O. lehmanni; red, orange, and yellow against a black or bark brown background (Mzoo 1999). The frog is mainly dark colored and is encircled by two brightly colored bands. One band is behind the head and the other is around the hump of the back. The brightly colored patterns are broken up irregularly by the dark. The arms and legs are also circled by the bright colors (Edobermeyer 1999). The bright color pattern that these frogs have developed is called an aposematic coloration. It is supposed to warn possible predators that they are very poisonous. The skin of O. lehmanni is smooth and the first digit is a little shorter then the second. (Obermeyer, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike



The mating season for Lehmann's poison frog begins after the wet season. The males find a good place to store the eggs and then attract the female through a series of elaborate calls. When a female finds a male she deposits a few large eggs on leaves that are about 1.2 m above the forest floor in the area that he has selected. The male picks an area that is near water to insure that the eggs stay wet. After the eggs are laid the male will fertilize, protect, and keep them wet. In about 2 to 4 weeks the male will carry the tadpoles to water via sticky mucous on his back. The male will usually take each tadpole to a different site because they can be cannibalistic. The bodies of water that the tadpoles develop in are often in branches, hollow trees, and bamboo stalks. The tadpoles develop into frogs in about 2 to 3 months (David 1999).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)


No information could be found.

Food Habits

Oophaga lehmanni is an insectivorous species (Vazquez 1997). As tadpoles, the frogs are fed unfertilized eggs by the parents. The young can also be cannibalistic (David 1999).

  • Animal Foods
  • amphibians
  • eggs
  • insects

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The toxic skin secretions of Oophaga lehmanni are being studied for medicinal purposes.

Conservation Status

Oophaga lehmanni is a protected species (Vazquez 1997). They are being exported from their home land for use in the pet trade. This species is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN and is in CITES Appendix II.

Other Comments

Oophaga lehmanni produce toxins in their skin that can be very poisonous. Some of the native tribes of Columbia coat their darts with the poison produced by the frogs. When bred in captivity the frogs are not poisonous because the diet that they are fed lacks the precursors needed to produce the poison (Vazquez 1997).


Doug Diemer (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


Accessed (Date Unknown) at http://geocities.com/RainForest/9063/eng.html.

David, R. "Erksine College" (On-line). Accessed October 22, 1999 at http://members.tripod.com/~Dendrobates/index.html.

Obermeyer, E. 1999. Accessed now obsolete at http://www.edobermeyer.com/amphib1.html.

Vasquez, J., J. Canel. Copy right 1997. Accessed October 22, 1999 at http://geocities.com/RainForest/9063/eng.html.