Defining Characteristics: Great beginner frog | Bright green and black coloration | Moderately bold | Very easy to breed | Quiet call | Large | Can be kept in groups
Name: Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black'. Commonly called the Green and Black Poison Dart Frog, the Mint dart frog (not to be confused with the mint form of Phyllobates terribilis), or the Costa Rican Poison Frog. The species is commonly referred to as 'CR or Costa Rican Auratus' in the United States frog hobby. Simply calling the species 'auratus' is fairly common, as well.
Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for a single Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black', but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Auratus will not climb as much as other varieties of dart frogs, and prefer a horizontally oriented tank. Costa Rican auratus seem to appreicate a water feature, such as a small pond. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.
Temperature: Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' 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.
Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, auratus 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 to Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black'. Auratus in particular seem to enjoy a wetter environment and higher ambient humidity levels vs other species of poison dart frogs, and will be more active in a more humid environment, especially when provided with a water feature. In the wild, auratus are commonly found in association with streams.
Size: Adult female Costa Rican Auratus are larger, measuring in at approximately 1.5 inches. Male Costa Rican Green and Black auratus are a bit smaller, averaging about 1.25 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure approximately .75-1” long.
Age: Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. I had a friend who had a pair of auratus still breeding after keeping them for 27 years, and they were wild caught adults when he received them in the early 1990s! In the wild, it is thought that galacs may live 4-6 years. All Green and Black Auratus for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.
Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, Costa Rican auratus poison dart frogs prefer smaller foods. All of the Green and Black auratus dart frogs Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' 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 auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' is not sexable until 10-12 months of age, and even at that age visual sexing is very difficult. Male auratus 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 juvenile Costa Rican auratus 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 typically green and black poison dart frog, Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' is not very variable. Varying amounts of black constrasts nicely will a bright, forest green. As Costa Rican auratus age, their colors often change a bit as well. The intensity of the green can vary a bit, from a yellowish green to a forest green. The green/black pattern typically resembles camo, but occasionally a spot or stripe can make itself apparent. On rare occasions, reticulated individuals pop up. 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 auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' do well housed in groups their entire life, 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 auratus may change, and females may eat each other's eggs. Female D. auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' may fight with each other over a mate. For that reason, many breeders recommend keeping auratus in pairs as adults. In our experience at Josh's Frogs, generally this aggression is minor, and auratus make a great group frog. 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: Costa Rican Green and Black auratus are very easy to breed. Sometimes they lay egg frequently, only to stop and go months before laying another clutch. Like most Dendrobates, eggs are deposited on a smooth broad leaf, or on a petri dish under a cocohut. Most egg clutches consist of 4-6 eggs. 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 auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' is native to Costa Rica. The exact locale of this large form of green and black auratus is unknown, and it is likely several different populations of green and black frogs exist. Generally found in humid lowlands, Costa Rican auratus seem to thrive in heavy layers of leaf litter, and are often found near streams or creeks.
History in the Hobby: Many different forms of auratus are present in the hobby, predominantly from Panama. Costa Rican Green and Black auratus are unique in that they are the only common morph originating from Costa Rica. Imported in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Costa Rican auratus are no longer imported in large numbers.
Links of Interest:
Costa Rican Green and Black Auratus Care Sheet by Josh's Frogs
Wikipedia entry on Dendrobates auratus
Auratus information on Dendrobates.org
Still not sure if Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!