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Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanistic (Captive Bred)


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About This Product

Defining Characteristics: 

  • Great beginner frog
  • Gray and black coloration
  • Moderately bold
  • Easy to breed
  • Quiet call
  • Large
  • Rare
  • Can be kept in groups

Name: Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanistic. 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. These individuals are melanistic and have increased melanin levels making them mostly black with no color.

Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for a single Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanisic, 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.

Want to spice up your enclosure with live plants? Our experts have curated kits of easy-to-care-for and SAFE plants for your dart frogs. Check them out here!

Temperature (°F): They can tolerate a temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85 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. Auratus in particular seem to enjoy a wetter environment and higher ambient humidity levels than 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 auratus are larger, measuring approximately 1.5 inches. Male auratus are a bit smaller, averaging about 1.25 inches at maturity. All of the Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanistic froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure at least 5/8 inch long.

Age: Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanistic is capable of living well over 20 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 10 years is more common. 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 auratus dart frogs Josh's Frogs sells will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Adult Dendrobates auratus 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: Costa Rican auratus are typically green and black but these individuals are melanistic. Melanism is caused by high levels of melanin in the pigment. This is the opposite of albinism which is caused by less melanin. They are generally completely black with some individuals showing a dark gray pattern where the green would be.

Social Behavior: Normal and Melanistic Costa Rican can be housed together as they are the same morph. They 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 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 mixing! 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 eggs frequently, only to stop and go months before laying another clutch. Like with 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' Melanistic is native to Costa Rica. The exact locale of this large form of 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. These individuals are offspring of normal Costa Rican Green and Blacks that on rare occasions have offspring that are melanistic.

Links of Interest:

  • Costa Rican Green and Black Auratus Care Sheet by Josh's Frogs
  • Wikipedia entry on Dendrobates auratus
  • Auratus information on

Still not sure if Dendrobates auratus 'Costa Rican Green and Black' Melanistic from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!


After placing an order containing a live animal, you will receive a scheduling email containing our JotForm scheduling link to schedule your new pet's delivery date.

With this scheduling link, you will be able to schedule your order's delivery up to 30 days in advance. You will be able to choose a date of delivery for Tuesday-Saturday (Saturday arrival depends on the carrier's service availability) with the estimated time of arrival generally being 12pm, or 4:30pm for more rural areas. Overnight lows must be above 40°F to ship directly to you (or above 30°F for FedEx Ship Center pickups) as well as below 90°F by estimated time of arrival.

If you require further assistance, or prefer to talk to one of our Customer Service agents, please feel free to reach out to our [email protected] email or our phone line 1-800-691-8178.

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