Defining Characteristics: Great beginner frog | Contrasting yellow and black coloration | Bold | Easy to breed | Loud, pleasant call | Large | Can be kept in groups
Name: Dendrobates leucomelas. Leucomelas literally translates to white and black, due to the original specimen described presumably blanched of color from preservation. In the hobby, Dendrobates leucomelas are often called bumble bee dart frogs, yellow banded poison dart frogs,, leucomelas, or simply 'leucs'.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 1-2 Dendrobates leucomelas, 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: Dendrobates leucomelas can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 85 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85F are dangerous. Leucs are a bit more resistant to warmer temperatures compared to other species of poison dart frogs.
Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, bumble bee dart frogs prefer a humidity range of 70 – 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 leucomelas are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.5 inches. Male leucs are a bit smaller, averaging about 1.25 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates leucomelas froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately 3/4" to 1” long.
Age: Dendrobates leucomelas is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. All bumble bee dart frogs for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.
Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, leucs prefer smaller foods. All of the bumble bee poison dart frogs Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates leucomelas 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: Dendrobates leucomelas is not sexable until 10-12 months of age. Male leucs tend to be smaller than females, which often appear both longer and wider. 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: A very variable poison dart frog, all Dendrobates leucomelas are mostly yellow and black in color with a varying degree of black spots and bands. The yellow can range from a very bright yellow to an orange color in some individuals. Most leucs born orange will turn yellow with age. 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: Dendrobates leucomelas does well housed in groups, as long as enough space is provided. Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 10 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 10-12 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of Dendrobates leucomelas may change, and female leucs may eat each other's eggs. For that reason, many breeders recommend keeping bumble bee poison dart frogs in pairs as adults. I routinely keep leucomelas in groups - they may not breed as well as they could in pairs, but a group of leucs is sure fun to watch! 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: Leucomelas are very simple and easy to breed. Breeding bumble bee poison dart frogs can be challenging at times, as this species tends to be a very seasonal breeder - frogs may need exposure to a dry period in order to 'get into the mood'. Generally, eggs are deposited on a smooth broad leaf, or on a petri dish under a cocohut. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of 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: Dendrobates leucomelas occurs in Colombia, Brazil, British Guyana, and Venezeula. This morph is from Venezuela, but specific locale information is not available. Bumble Bee Dart Frogs occur in humid rainforest among leaf litter, and can be found congregating in humid spaces under rocks or logs during the dry season. Leucs are considered a species of least concern by the IUCN, and can be quite common in the wild.
History in the Hobby: Dendrobates leucomelas have been a mainstay in the frog hobby since it's inception. Leuc popularity grew greatly in the 1990s, as many individuals were imported from Venezuela along with tropical fish. Josh's Frogs works with several lines of Dendrobates leucomelas, and pairs different lines with each other to maintain genetic variability in the frogs we sell.
Links of Interest:
Wikipedia article on the Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog
Dendrobates leucomelas at the IUCN
Still not sure if Dendrobates leucomelas from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!