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Epipedobates trivittatus Care Sheet

 Epipedobates trivittatus

Epipedobates trivittatus 'Huallaga Canyon'

Introduction and Natural History of Epipedobates trivittatus Epipedobates trivittatus, also known as Ameerega trivittata in the new literature, is a large (adult female Epipedobates trivittatus can reach nearly 3"" in length!), active Dendrobatid frog found in Suriname and Peru, which is where most of the Epipedobates trivittatus in the hobby come from. Epipedobates trivittatus also occurs in Bolivia, Guyana, Colombia, and Venezuela. Some relatively new literature reports that Epipedobates trivittatus occurs in French Guiana and Ecuador, as well. Epipedobates trivittatus tends to inhabit low lying drainage areas of the Amazon Basin. Epipedobates trivittatus is considered a species of least concern by the IUCN Redlist. In the pet trade, Epipedobates trivittatus is known as the 3 striped poison arrow frog or the 3 striped dart frog.Want to learn more about keeping reptiles and amphibians? Want to hear about the latest products and be informed about current sales at Enter your name and email below![contact-form to='[email protected]' subject='BLOG NEWSLETTER SIGNUP'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][/contact-form]Epipedobates trivittatus has experienced an interesting and history when it comes to naming. Originally described as Hyla trivittata by Spix in 1824, Epipedobates trivittatus has been renamed multiple times since then. Originally, what we now refer to as Epipedobates trivitattus (actually Ameerega trivittata) was described as two separate species!
  • Hyla trivittata - Spix, 1824
  • Hyla nigerrima - Spix, 1824
  • Hysaplesia trivittata - Schlegel, 1826
  • Hysaplesia nigerrima - Schlegel, 1826
  • Dendrobates trivittatus - Wagler, 1830
  • Dendrobates nigerrima - Wagler, 1830
  • Dendrobates nigerrimus - Wagler, 1830
  • Dendrobates obscurus - Dumeril and Bibron, 1841
  • Hylaplesia trivittatus - Knauer, 1883
  • Dendrobates tetravittatus - Miranda-Riberio, 1926
  • Phyllobates trivittatus - Silverstone, 1976
  • Ameerega trivittata - Bauer, 1986
  • Epipedobates trivittatus - Myers, 1987
  • Phobobates trivittatus - Zimmermann and Zimmermann, 1988
  • Ameerega trivittata - Grant et al, 2006
Epipedobates trivittatus occurs in many different color/pattern morphs from several different populations throughout it's range. Many pictures of the Suriname morphs can be viewed on the Simply Natural Dart Frogs website, where Marcus Breece used to import and breed various types of Epipedobates trivittatus. At Josh's Frogs, we work with Epipedobates trivittatus 'Huallaga Canyon', which originates in Peru and was imported by Mark Pepper of Understory Enterprises. Common near human habitation, Epipedobates trivittatus is an easy to keep captive, but can be a bit more demanding than other poison dart frogs when it comes to breeding.

Captive Husbandry

Being large frogs, these should be housed in larger naturalistic vivaria than what is required for most poison dart frogs. At Josh's Frogs, we house a group of 5 adults (we believe 3.2) Epipedobates trivittatus in a 140 gallon vivarium. However, a 20L vivarium is suitable for 2 or 3 trivs. These frogs are capable of jumping quite a long distance, so house them in the largest vivarium you can.

Epipedobates trivittatus

140 gallon naturalistic vivarium for Epipedobates trivittatus at Josh's Frogs.

With naturalistic vivaria, substrate typically consists of a 2” base layer of  Josh's Frogs False Bottom, followed by  substrate barrier, then a well-draining substrate such as  ABG mix in a 2” layer. On top of this,  long fiber sphagnum is placed in a thin layer, followed by a hearty coating of  leaf litter. The substrate can be seeded with various species of microfauna, including  springtails and  isopods, which are cultured and sold specifically for such applications.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Epipedobates trivittatus appreciates lower lighting levels.

Densely plant smaller vivaria with live terrarium plants, as this will help make the poison dart frogs feel more secure. Low/dim lighting levels are appreciated, as is a temperature range of 70F-80F. A water feature is not necessary, but may help in breeding. Trivs will eat your typical dart frog fare but tend to prefer slightly larger prey items as adults, such as hydei fruit flies, bean beetles, isopods, phoenix worms, and crickets. In the wild, Epipedobates trivittatus lives primarily in the leaf litter, and a dense layer of leaves at the bottom of the vivarium will be appreciated.


Breeding Trivs can be tricky at times. The first step is to insure you have at least one male and one female Epipedobates trivittatus. Even though they can breed at a younger age, sex is generally more apparent when the animals reach 18-24 months of age. At that time, males will appear shorter and slimmer than females, which will be larger at more pear shaped. To help sex dart frogs, check out Josh's Frogs Guide to Sexing Dart Frogs. Aggression has been reported between the same sexes, but generally does not harm either animal. Epipedobates trivittatus does well in groups. Raising up a group of Epipedobates trivittatus greatly increases the chances of getting at least one breeding pair of animals. Josh's Frogs recommends raising up a group of at least 4 frogs if you have a large enough enclosure.

Water feature 

There is some evidence that a water feature may contribute to breeding success with Epipedobates trivittatus. In the wild, they can be found near streams and temporary bodies of water, so this makes sense. At Josh's Frogs, we have a pool of water measuring approximately 18""x12"". Our first three-striped poison frog tadpoles were discovered feeding on algae in the pool - up until then, we didn't even know the poison dart frogs were breeding!

Epipedobates trivittatus

Epipedobates trivittatus seems to appreciate a water feature in the vivarium.


Epipedobates trivittatus lays rather large egg clutches consisting of between 20-30 eggs, although we've gotten a clutch of nearly 50 eggs on occasion. Adult Epipedobates trivittatus males may guard their egg clutch, potentially protecting it from females that would eat the eggs, and routinely watering it to keep the eggs moist. Eggs are laid most often on a petri dish under a coco hut, but sometimes are deposited on stout, broad plant leaves. Utilizing a petri dish makes it easy to remove and incubate eggs outside the vivarium, allowing you to have more control over your Epipedobates trivittatus' breeding.

Epipedobates trivittatus; three striped poison frog

Epipedobates trivittatus generally will utilize petri dishes under a coco hut to lay their eggs. Here, the coco hut was removed in order to take the picture.

Epipedobates trivittatus; Three striped poison frog

A typical Triv egg clutch.

Typically, about half the eggs hatch out after approximately 2 weeks into tadpoles. In nature (and in the vivarium if you don't pull the eggs!), the male Epipedobates trivittatus will scoop the tadpoles on his back and carry them to a water source, where they are deposited. At Josh's Frogs, we remove the eggs before they hatch and rear them artificially. Epipedobates trivitattus tadpoles are raised communally in large dishwashing bins, with approximately 20-30 tadpoles in 2 gallons of water.

More on tadpoles

Alternatively, we have had success keeping Epipedobates trivittatus tadpoles individually in 16oz tadpole cups. Tadpoles receive a 90% water change once a day with tadpole tea. This consists of reverse osmosis water that has been boiled with indian almond leaves to release tannins into the water. Likewise, blackwater extract can be added. Josh's Frogs maintains its dart frog tadpoles at approximately 74F. Epipedobates trivittatus tadpoles are fed daily with a high quality tadpole food. We use and recommend HBH Frog and Tadpole Bites that have been coated in a dusting of Sera Micron. We've used this tadpole food with poison dart frog tadpoles for many years with great success.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Male Epipedobates trivittatus will give their tadpoles a piggy back ride to a water source, where they will complete metamorphosis. Source.

Epipedobates trivittatus

At Josh's Frogs, we house trivittatus tadpoles communally.

In about 4-6 weeks, the tadpoles will develop back legs, followed by visible front legs about 2 weeks later. Both sets of legs develop at the same time in poison dart frogs. However, the front legs do not emerge from under the skin until later. When front legs are visible, we remove the tadpole from the communal rearing bin and place it in a petri dish with a bit of water. This petri dish is placed in the rearing bin where we will raise the froglet to sellable size.After the froglets have left the petri dish, it's removed. At Josh's Frogs, we use 128oz containers to raise 2 froglets to at least 2 months old. Bins contain about 1"" of New Zealand long fiber sphagnum, springtails, and a cutting of pothos or wandering dude. Froglets also readily take Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies right out of the water.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Three striped poison frog 1 day out of the water.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Epipedobates trivittatus 2 weeks out of the water.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Epipedobates trivittatus 1 month out of the water.

Epipedobates trivittatus

 Froglet rearing container for Epipedobates trivittatus at Josh's Frogs.


Overall, the three-striped poison frog was once considered a difficult poison dart frog to keep and breed. Although captive breeding still cannot be called easy, captive care is more straightforward than ever. Josh's Frogs is proud to be able to offer healthy, captive bred Epipedobates trivittatus to amphibian enthusiasts all over the United States.

Epipedobates trivittatus

Additional Resources:

Wikipedia - Ameerega trivittata. - Link to article by Grant et al. concerning most recent reclassification of Epipedobates trivittatus to Ameerega trivittata. American Museum of Natural History - Ameerega trivittata. - Good information on the taxonomic history of Epipedobates trivittatus. Dendroboard - Epipedobates trivittatus care sheet. - The largest english language dart frog forum on the internet.