Uakari Poison Frog


A male Uakari poison frog (Ranitomeya uakarii) carrying two tadpoles on his back.
“A male Uakari poison frog (Ranitomeya uakarii) carrying two tadpoles on his back. The genus Ranitomeya contains sixteen species of small frogs that range across the Amazon Basin and the foothills of the Andes. The Uakari (ya-kari) poison frog is named after Uakari monkeys, which have stunning red coloration on their faces, and have a similar distribution across Amazonia.  I have seen Ranitomeya uakarii in several places, including locations not far from the river city of Iquitos in northeastern Peru. These tiny frogs are active during the day, and despite their bright coloration, they can be difficult to spot on the rainforest floor and in low vegetation – an adult frog can perch comfortably on your thumbnail.
I photographed this particular frog in early June, in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo conservation reserve, southwest and upstream of Iquitos, Peru.  Reaching the habitat of this little frog was a nice day’s adventure for me and two companions. First, there was an hour’s ride in a small boat up a little river, and then a hike of several miles, passing through flooded ‘varzea’ forest and then climbing up low hills into ‘terra firma’ forest, prime habitat for the Uakari poison frog. Searching the forest floor slowly and carefully, we found just one – a male with tadpoles attached.  The female frogs lay their eggs in low, wet places, and once they hatch, the tadpoles attach to the back of the male. These frogs climb well, and the males carry the tadpoles up trees to bromeliads, depositing them in water reservoirs among the leaves to finish their development.
I never tire of seeing these bright little creatures, and I always hoped to see a male with tadpoles some day.  It was a good day in the rainforest, witnessing and capturing a little natural history moment.” – Mike Pingleton

This tiny treasure from Peru was photographed by Mike Pingleton – naturalist, wildlife guide, author, blogger and podcaster. Thank you for sharing your work with us!

Connect with Mike (@somuchpingle) on Instagram or X. Also, be sure to check out his blog and herpetology podcast

Mike has also been a guest on our Snake Talk Podcast!  Listen in to Episode 89: Snake Road with Mike Pingleton.