This page will be dedicated to explaining how true eggfeeder differs from the other species and which ones is most suited for keeping in captive. Almost all dendrobatids is feeding their tadpoles with eggs, but the tadpoles that exclusively eat unfertalized eggs feeded to them is what is called eggfeeders.
D. lehmanni © Reto Siegenthaler
- Examples of eggfeeders: Lehmanni - Histrionica - Pumilio - Granuliferus
All eggfeeders are now members of the group Oophaga. With the new systematics of the names it's alot easier to remember what frogs that is eggfeeders. Earlier they where an undergroup in the group Dendrobates which contained almost all the colorful frogs that people where interested in keeping in vivariums.
Difficulties with raising and breeding eggfeeders
There has been lots of diffrent methods that has been tried to use for feeding the tadpoles. Everything from eggs from other species like P. lugubris and D. auratus to chicken egg yolk, and sometimes people even have succeeded to raise frogs, but it resulted as best with a young frog that died before 3-6 months of age. Most of the tadpoles didn't even get out of the water.
The people who have succeed with breeding these frogs has two things in common:
- They have let the frogs take care of everything that has to do with raising and feeding the tadpole.
- The person have been lucky when choosing the frogs because not all frogs are that good parents. It's not exactly uncommon that the eggs are hatched into a tadpole that will be left alone, just to die, and this is probably the reason why there has been so many tries to raise them.
First of all, these frogs are not recomended for the beginner. If you want to be able to read the frogs, how they behave and how they feel it's better to start with something easier since these frogs not are breeded in any numbers in captive, especially if we talk about O. histrionica, O. lehmanni and O. sylvatica. The mentioned frogs are not exported from Colombia and northern Ecuador anymore and they will probably not be in the future. There is a few people in Europe and USA who has breeded them but it is in so few numbers that most breeders keep them. If there is a frog for sale it will be for a very high price which is increasing for every for every year. If you still want to take the chance and have the money for them it's probably best chance to succeed with O. sylvaticus. A few of the frogs still excisting in the hobby is from the time when they where exported from Colombia and Ecuador, but be aware of frogs that is wild catched. Many morphs of histrionicus and especially O. lehmanni is getting more and more rare in the nature so buying wild catched animals of this animals is threating especially these wild animals hard.
If you want to try to keep eggfeeders the best choice will probably be O. pumilio from Panama and Costa Rica. There is many color variations of this specie and there has also been some legal exports the last years from 'farms' in Panama to Europe and there has been exports for longer time to USA. People have also started to breed these frogs so the prices has been alot lower the last years. There is some diffrence between the morphs in how hard they are to keep. Pumilio 'blue jeans' from Costa Rica is the frog that is hardest to keep since it is very common that it is stressing itself to death, very often even before you've got the chance to let them into a vivarium after buying it. Pumilios that can be recomended is for ex. 'isla bastimentos' that will be found in many colors, 'isla colón', 'almirante', 'isla san cristobal', 'isla solarte' also called 'nancy' but there is lots of other morphs and all morphs are probably not known yet.
Morphs that might become it's own specie
There is also a frog that some scientists want to remove from the Pumilio Group called 'escuado de varagues' or commonly 'escudo' that is possible to keep and breed but you should know that it's much smaller than the 'other' pumilios, meaning that it will need mostly springtails for feeding and that the froglets is very tiny. There is also scientists that is working on removing O. pumilio 'blue jeans' into it's own specie with the name O. typographa (earlier D. typographus) but at this site we will still list it as O. pumilio 'blue jeans' since this is the frog that most people see as the original Pumilo.
Rare species in the hobby and less known species
All species in this group with the exception of pumilio is rare in the hobby. The reason is that they are hard to breed in captive. Other examples of eggfeeder frogs that is found rarely in the hobby and that is quite rare in nature also is O. granuliferus from Costa Rica and O. vicentei that is an arboreal poison dart frog in Panama. There is also a frog that by some people is ment to be a morph of the described and disapeared specie O. arborea and by others ment to be a brownish morph of O. vicentei, but for now it will at least be found at my website as the specie O. arborea. Examples of frogs that hardly is seen even at photos that belongs to this group is: O. occultator, O. speciosa (earlies know as D. speciosus) that looks very much like pumilio 'bri bri'.
O. lehmanni from Colombia is probably the most threatened frogs of them all. They excist in red/black or yellow/black. They are closely related to O. histrionicus but is described as it's own specie. O. histrionicus and O. sylvaticus is species that there is very many morphs of and that can look completely diffrent from eachother. They have not been legaly exported to Europe for years so they are very rare in hobby even though they is a few people succeeding with breeding at them, but in very few numbers. At most they can get 1-2 young frogs per year. Most people succeed to get eggs and tadpoles at them but never a surviving froglet.