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Epipedobates tricolor Boulenger, 1899

The word Río is used to designate this population.  It is a spanish word, which means river.  It is loosely used in reference to its preferred habitat that includes rivers and streams.Río Morph (Wikiri 2014)

Tricolor poison frog (Cochran, D. M. 1961.Coloma L. A., J. M. Guayasamin 2011–2014)
Ecuadorian tricolor frog (Cochran, D. M. 1961.Coloma L. A., S. R. Ron 2001)



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  Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor  

Boulenger, G. A. 1899. Descriptions of new batrachians in the collection of the British Museum (Natural History). Annals and Magazine of Natural History. London 7:273–277.


Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolor   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolo   Dendrobatidae: Epipedobates tricolo
  Borde 1


Endemic to Ecuador. It is distributed in the Pacific lowlands and western versant of Cordillera Occidental de los Andes.

Altitudinal zones: Western Tropical, Western Subtropical (319–1769 m).

Ecoregions: Western Rainforests, Western Foothills. It occurs in provinces: Bolívar, Cotopaxi.

The type locality is "Porvenir, Bolivar, western slope, about 5800 feet [1769 m], Ecuador.


Habitat and biology

It inhabits in natural forests and secondary areas. It has been seen in banana and cacao plantations, as well as in pasture lands close to streams. Males transport their tadpoles to streams (Christmann 2004, Verkade y Verkade 2009, 2010).



Phylogeny (Santos et al. 2009). Almost all the literature that mentions Epipedobates tricolor (especially prior to the publication of Graham et al. 2004) actually refers to E. anthonyi. See synonyms and taxonomic reviews in Graham et al. (2004), Grant et al. (2006), Lötters et al. (2007) y Frost (2002–año actual). Santos et al. (2009) studied their evolutionary relationships using mitochondrial genes (12S, 16S, about 2400 base pairs) and the RAG-1 (about 495 bp) nuclear gene. The resulting phylogeny indicates that Epipedobates tricolor is the sister taxon of E. machalilla. These two species are in turn related to E. anthonyi. The same authors discuss their history and biogeographic patterns of speciation. Speciation of Epipedobates have been promoted by the montane transition zone between the Andes and the Pacific area during the middle Miocene and prior to the formation of the Isthmus of Panama occurred about three million years ago.


Conservation status

Apendix II of CITES. Endangered according to Coloma (2004).

There are no studies on their populations and their dynamics, but it is presumed that some of them would be in decline. His conservation category needs to be revised as more is known about the status of their populations. Its small area of extent of occurrence is not protected and fragmented. Their habitats are in populated areas, where synergistic effects of agriculture, livestock, fire, introduced species, the use of chemicals, pollution of rivers, streams, waterways, and urban development are growing and are increasingly important threats. Although the number of individuals in some populations may be relatively abundant, several of the populations (characterized by colors, morphologies and local adaptations) would be Critically Endangered or Endangered. Especially the transformation of primary and secondary forests in cacao plantations at the foot of the western Andes represents a serious danger. In addition to these threats there exists smuggling of frogs collected in the field, especially since the nineties, for the world pet trade market. Ex situ reproduction and management have been successful since 2014 and is part of the program of the bio-commerce company Wikiri.


Presence at protected areas

It has not been recorded in either public protected areas of private reserves.


Additional information

Silverstone (1976) provides a summary; however, specimens from Azuay correspond to E. anthonyi. Coloma y Ron (2001) published a color photograph of a male carrying tadpoles. Graham et al. (2004) provide distribution, as well as geographical and environmental niches data, which are used to explore speciation mechanisms. Also they discuss aspects of their systematics. Christmann (2004) publish data on distribution and numerous color photographs (pages 96–130 ), including pictures of their habitats. He also publishes information and photographs for the care and maintenance in terrariums. Lötters et al. (2007) provide a summary of the species distribution data, natural habitat, morphology, biology, breeding and reproduction, building terrariums, diet and taxonomic aspects. Valencia et al. (2008) published a summary. Verkade y Verkade (2009, 2010) provide geographic data, photographs of habitats and populations of the Valleys of Río Juntas, Soloma, and Suquibi. Verkade (2013) provides information on the material and type locality.

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