Defining Characteristics: Great beginner thumbnail | Bright, yellow/green and black coloration | Bold | Easy to breed | Quiet call | Small | Great in Pairs or Groups
Name: Ranitomeya imitator. Formerly known as Dendrobates imitator, this frog is commonly known as the Mimic Poison Dart Frog due to it's apparent mimickry of thumbnail species that occur sympatrically. Commonly called imis in the hobby, or sometimes standard or nominat imitators. These imitators are a small, spectacularly colored poison dart frog.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 2-3 Ranitomeya imitator, but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.
Temperature: Ranitomeya imitator can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 80 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85F are dangerous.
Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, imitators prefer a humidity range of 80 – 100%, but can tolerate humidity down to 50% for short periods of time if the frogs have access to water. Low humidity levels, especially without access to water, can quickly be fatal.
Size: Adult female and male R. imitator are similar in length, measuring in at around an inch. All of the Ranitomeya imitator froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately 3/4” long.
Age: Ranitomeya imitator is capable of living well over 10 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 5-8 years is more common. All imis for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.
Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, imitators prefer smaller foods. All of the thumbnail dart frogs sold by Josh's Frogs will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Ranitomeya imitator will readily consume Drosophila hydei fruit flies and pinhead crickets. All ages of poison dart frogs will enjoy springtails and isopods. All feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. For more information on what poison dart frogs can eat, please visit our How-To Guide on Feeding Poison Dart Frogs.
Sexing: Ranitomeya imitator are fairly easy to sex as adults. Females are much wider than males, as they lay eggs frequently. Josh's Frogs sells 2-3 month old juveniles that are not sexable unless otherwise noted. For more information on sexing poison dart frogs, please visit our How-To Guide on Sexing Poison Dart Frogs.
Color/Pattern: Imitators are fairly consistent in color and pattern. Exhibiting a yellow to greenish yellow body, speckled with black dots or blotches, they are a striking little thumbnaill dart frog! Josh's Frogs does not recommend, support, or endorse line breeding as we believe this leads to weaker captive animals and nature has done a wonderful job of creating an amazing variation in color and pattern of poison dart frogs already.
Social Behavior: Ranitomeya imitator do well housed in groups their entire life as long as enough space is provided. Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 5 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 5-8 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of imitator dart frogs may change and females may eat each other's eggs, although most will even breed together in the same film canister! Josh's Frogs strongly recommends against housing different species/morphs of dart frogs - for the health of your pets, please avoid mxing! Josh's Frogs recommends purchasing multiple frogs if you are interested in breeding them – this greatly increases the chances of getting a pair.
Breeding: Imitators are one of the easiest poison dart frogs to breed. Best bred in pairs, males call to attract a female to a suitable egg laying site. Then, 2-5 eggs are laid on a smooth surface (often in a film canister or a bromeliad). The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults. Tadpoles will feed on dead fruit flies, the standard frog and tadpole bites/sera micron fare, and even unfertilized eggs if left in with the adults! For more information on breeding and raising poison dart frogs, please visit our How-To Guide on Breeding Poison Dart Frogs.
Natural Range: Ranitomeya imitator is a lowland species from the rainforests of northeastern Peru.
History in the Hobby: Imitators have been around in the hobby for decades.
Links of Interest:
Dendrobates.org - article on Ranitomeya imitator
Imitator Poison Dart Frog - Wikipedia
DendroBase - Ranitomeya imitator
Imitator - IUCN Redlist
Ranitomeya imitator caresheet on Dendroboard
Josh's Frogs Blog on Thumbnail Dart Frogs
Still not sure if Ranitomeya imitator from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!