Defining Characteristics: Great beginner frog | Pale Yellow, White, and black coloration | Bold | Easy to breed | Quiet call | Large | Can be kept in groups when young | Best kept in pairs as adults
Name: Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback'. Commonly the Dyeing Poison Dart Frog (based on an early belief that natives used brightly colored frogs to dye fabric). In the hobby, simply known as Yellowbacks or Cits. Yellowback refers to it's bright lemon yellow color.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for a single Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback', 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 tinctorius 'Yellowback' 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, Yellowbacks 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 Yellowbacks are one of the largest species of tincs, measuring in at approximately 2.5 inches. Male Yellowback are a bit smaller, averaging about 2 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback' froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately 1” long.
Age: Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback' is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. In the wild, it is thought that Yellowback may live 4-6 years. All Yellowbacks for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.
Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, Yellowbacks prefer smaller foods. All of the Yellowbacks Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback' 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 tinctorius 'Yellowback' is not sexable until 10-12 months of age. Male Yellowback tend to be smaller than females, which often appear both longer and wider. Males also tend to have wider front toe pads and a less defined back arch than females. 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 tinctorius 'Yellowback' are mostly pale yellow interrupted by black spots or blotches, and no spots in some individuals. The amount of yellow can vary substantially among individuals, even siblings. Some Yellowback have yellow 'bracelets' around their front wrists. Leg color tends to be black with a varying amount of pale yellow or white. This morph of tinctorius is very variable. Some individuals show a reduced yellow coloration, where 90% of their body is black. These are sometimes referred to as 'lemon drop' tinctorius or skeleton tincs. As yellowbacks age, the yellow can fade to an almost white color. 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 tinctorius 'Yellowback' do well housed in groups up to sexual maturity, 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 tinctorius may change, and all but one female may need to be removed. Female D. tinctorius may fight with each other over a mate. For that reason, many breeders recommend keeping Yellowbacks in pairs as adults. 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: Yellowbacks are very simple and easy to breed. Like most Dendrobates tinctorius, Yellowbacks are best bred in pairs as adult females may fight with each other in the presence of a male. 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. Please try to breed this morph - it is quite uncommon, and in danger of disappearing from the US hobby.
Natural Range: Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback' is native to Suriname, along the Maroni River, which serves as a border between Suriname and French Guiana. Some froggers suspect that Yellowbacks occur on both sides of the river, and captive animals may be a result of collections on the Suriname side, the French Guiana side, or possibly both!
History in the Hobby: First imported in the early 1990s, the early yellowbacks were originally imported from French Guiana, with later imports coming from Suriname. To add to the confusion, this species is very similar to the French Guiana tinctorius 'Atachi Bakka'.
Links of Interest:
Tinctorius Morphguide, with great information on all morphs of Dendrobates tinctorius.
IUCN Redlist article on Dendrobates tinctorius.
Still not sure if Dendrobates tinctorius 'Yellowback' from Josh's Frogs is the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!