Defining Characteristics: Great Beginner Frog | Contrasting Yellow body and Black/Green legs | Very Bold | Easy to breed | Loud call | Large Clutch Size | Can be Kept in Groups | Social
Name: Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg'. These frogs are commonly called the Black Legged Dart frog or the Bicolored Dart Frog. P. bicolor are also known as neari by native tribes in Colombia. Sometimes, Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' is also known as 'Green Legged', or Green Leg/Legged bicolor. In the hobby, they are sometimes simpley referred to as bicolor. In the past, this species of poison dart frog has been known as Phyllobates chocoensis and Phyllobates melanorrhinus. Phyllobates bicolor is one of the 'deadly 3' true dart frogs (and the second most toxic vertebrate on the planet), which are utilized by native indian tribes in Colombia to poison darts for hunting. Fortunately, bicolor (like all dart frogs) are harmless in captivity, as they get their toxins from their wild diet.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 1 Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg', but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 24x18x18 Vivarium for 2-4 frogs. Being that bicolor are a rather large and bulky dart frog, a good rule of thumb is 10 gallons of space per dart frog in the habitat. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.
Temperature: Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 80 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 80F are dangerous. Poison Dart Frogs of the genus Phyllobates are notoriously sensitive to warmer temperatures, and Josh's Frogs strongly recommends keeping temperatures in your bicolor vivarium below 75F.
Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, green legged bicolor 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. In the wild Phyllobates bicolor is often found near small streams, and takes advantage of humid microclimes.
Size: Adult female bicolor are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.25 inches. Male green leg bicolor tend to be a bit smaller, averaging about 1 inch at maturity. Size is not always a good indication of sex, however - even when dealing with frogs that are several years old! All of the Phyllobates bicolor froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately .75” long.
Age: Phyllobates bicolor is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. All bicolor for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.
Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, Phyllobates bicolor prefer smaller foods. All of the bicolor Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' will readily consume Drosophila hydei fruit flies, as well as crickets up to 1/4"! Bicolor are very unusual in that they are capable of eating much larger prey items than most other poison dart frogs. 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: Phyllobates bicolor is a difficult dart frog to sex until they are about a year old. Often, a frog keeper will know they have at least one male due to a loud, trilling call that starts at 6-8 months of age. Females tend to be larger and bulkier than males, but a frog will often reveal it's sex by laying eggs before sex can be confirmed visually. 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: Phyllobates bicolor are not very variable, and most individuals are virtually identical to each other. When young, bicolor come out of the water as a mostly black frog with a yellow U shape on their back. As they age, this U spreads and eventually forms 2 complete stripes down the back of the frog. These stripes continue to spread, and eventually (around 4-6 months of age) have a frog that is mostly yellow (sometimes with an orange hue), with black feet and a varying degree of green/black spots and speckles on the legs. 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: Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' do well housed in groups as long as enough space is provided. In the wild, bicolor are commonly found in loose groups within a fairly small space, suggesting that they are fairly social animals (or at least put up with each other's company!). Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 10 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 8-10 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of Phyllobates bicolor may change. Sometimes adult female bicolor will eat each other's eggs, resulting in little/no tadpoles being produced. For that reason, many breeders keep bicolor in pairs as adults in order to produce as many eggs as possible. We enjoy keeping them in groups, however - a group of 4-6 bicolor is quite the sight to behold in a vivarium as males call from different perches around the tank. When a male hears the call of another frog, he may hop over and aggressively attempt to wrestle with the calling male. This generally does not result in any harm to either frog involved. 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: Phyllobates bicolor are easy to breed once they get going, and reach sexual maturity at a young age (generally 8-10 months, but I've had them breed at 6 months before!). A male will start out utilizing a long-range call, in order to get the female to come to his location. After a brief courtship, 8-20 eggs are deposited on a smooth broad leaf, or on a petri dish under a cocohut in our vivaria. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which are transported on the back of the male to a water source, often a slow moving stream in the wild. Phyllobates bicolor tadpoles 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: Phyllobates bicolor naturally occurs on the western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental in Colombia between 500 and 1,500m elevation. Bicolor live in lowland tropical rainforests with high humidity and annual rainfall. Bicolor are commonly found near slow moving streams where bicolor deposit their tadpoles. Considered Near Threatened in their native lands due to habitat loss and fragmentation, Phyllobates bicolor is quite plentiful in captivity. Green Legged Bicolor are also currently quite common in the wild. Like all dart frogs, Bicolor are CITES II animals, and international trade is regulated.
History in the Hobby: Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' is a common frog in the US hobby, and has been present for quite some time (at least the early 1990s, if not earlier). Bicolor have been imported from European hobbyists in small numbers (sometimes even imported as Phyllobates terribilis!) This poison dart frog has suffered greatly from many boom/bust cycles due to it's ability to reproduce in large numbers, resulting in a lack of popularity that has led to a near exterpation in the US dart frog trade multiple times. This is one of those dart frogs that should be much more popular than they are, as they are a colorful, vocal species that is simple to keep and easy to breed. All Phyllobates bicolor available in the trade are captive bred - legal exportation of Phyllobates species out of Colombia has been banned since 1985.
Links of Interest:
IUCN RedList article on Phyllobates bicolor
AmphibiaWeb's Information about Bicolor
Phyllobates bicolor on Wikipedia
Black Legged Poison Dart Frog Pictures at ARKive
Animal Diversity Web article on P. bicolor
Phyllobates bicolor at iNaturalist.org
Dendroboard.com Bicolor and Terribilis care sheet
Still not sure if Phyllobates bicolor 'Green Leg' from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!