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Dendrobates Pumilio Advanced to Expert:
  • Difficulty: Advanced to Expert - This is mainly due to the difficulty in breeding them, as well as their territorial habits.
    Note: Pumilio are a very diverse species with many different morphs. Currently this is the first care sheet and we have plans for more. The purpose of this one is to cover the basics of the more common morphs, and then follow up with more information on expert level species in a later sheet.
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  • Location & History: Found throughout Costa Rica, Panama, and in parts of Nicaragua. Discovered in 1857 by O. Schmidt (1)
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  • Descriptions & Behavior:
    Note: These morphs represent unique subpopulations in the wild that share general physical characteristics, and for that reason different morphs should not be mixed. In addition it is not recommend to mix PFR (panama farm raised) pumilio with "old line" pumilio present in the hobby before the importations even if they seem very similar, as there is a good change they aren't the same thing (The PFR uyamas are NOT the same as the Uyama Rivers present before the importation, and are better labeled as Uyama IIs like in the European morph guide as they are a different morph).

    Generally bolder frogs, but temperament is somewhat dependent on enclosure. Larger, heavily planted tanks will offer more viewing opportunities.
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  • General Care: 65-85 F. Temperatures in the higher 70's seem to be favorable for the majority of the morphs available in the US.

    Groups of this frog are feasible, provided that the enclosure is large enough with heavy vegetation. It should be noted that males of this group can be very territorial, and if more than one male is included per enclosure, special attention should be paid to ensure that no individual is being stressed by another's aggression.

    Vivarium should be larger than 10 gallons for 1 pair, with both ample height and floorspace, as the frogs will use all available surface area. Many of the success stories with these animals can be related to larger tanks that offer various egg laying sites. Much larger vivariums are required to hold more than a pair.
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  • Breeding & tadpole Care: Obligate egg feeder, with clutch sizes from 3-10. Eggs must be left in situ as developing tadpoles will only consume infertile eggs laid by the female.

    Bromeliad leaves, film canisters, or other smooth surfaces. Females seem to prefer to lay between overlapping leaves.

    Unknown if tadpoles will act aggressively towards each other, but it is unlikely that two larvae will be deposited in the same vessel.

    Automated misting has also been recommended by many as a requirement for breeding success. This helps flush the tadpole sites and keep them full. In addition to the misting pumilo, they can benefit from more ventilation than others due to the increased misting. Successful misting times may very anywhere from 3 times a day up to 5 times a day, and from 1-5 minutes each time.
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  • Froglet Care:
    Froglet care is the trickiest part about D. pumilio care, and also the most highly debated. Froglet care initially hinges on the keepers' decision to leave the froglet in the tank with its parents, or to remove it as soon as it is discovered. The decision varies with keepers' preference, experience level, tank setup and condition, and the specific D. pumilio morph being worked with.

    Typically froglets are pulled with the hardiest morphs (Bastimentos, Man Creek, etc) usually kept in smaller tanks, when the froglets move out of the container they morphed in and begin to actively hunt. The hardier morphs tend to have more robust froglets that can handle the stress of capture and a new environment better, as well as take larger food items sooner. Smaller tanks tend to not have as good a population of micro fauna as in larger tanks, and this is further depleted if there are other froglets already in the tank as well.

    Froglets are moved to small containers (gladware, kritter keepers, 2.5 gallons or smaller) and provided leaf litter for cover and kept individually. It is best if these containers already have a strong springtail population going already, and springtails should be added regularly to keep a constant supply. Stunted melanogaster FFs, preferably of the wingless or golden delicious varieties, as well as other tiny feeders such as freshly born aphids should also be offered. As the frog grows, it can be offered more FFs and offered other small food items.

    Froglets typically left in tank are the more difficult morphs (darklands, robalo, etc), kept in larger tanks, and are froglets that would die from the stress of capture and relocation. The tanks in which these froglets are found should have plenty of leaf litter in which the froglets can hide and hunt, and the springtail population of the vivarium should be kept as high by adding additional springtails on at least a weekly basis when froglets are seen. Additional small foods like stunted melanogaster, wingless or golden declicious, and fresh born aphids should also be added on a regular basis. The longer the tank has been set up, the better the micro fauna of the tank will be, and the better success of the froglets. When set up and cared for correctly, these tanks can support a number of froglets as well as a colony of adults. Froglets should be pulled when half to 2/3 the size of adults, as they are nearing sexual maturity and that is the point in which the parents may be a danger to the offspring.

    Note: Even with misting systems some suggest flushing the water holders (broms or otherwise) 1-4x weekly by hand. Misting systems just don't flush the water as much as some like, and some have had water quality problems in the past when leaving the mister to do all the work.

    Threads about the use of Calcium Gluconate which some use to help pumilio froglets get past the first couple of months:
    Calcium Gluconate
    Pumilio post-mortem
    Young Pumilio deaths
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  • Links to related information:
    Pumilio Morph Guide Note: Not all of these morphs are in the US hobby, though this is a great wild morph reference.
    Saurian Pumilio PDF
    Pumilio Coloration
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  • Pictures:
    Bastimentos Froglet:

    Bastimentos:

    Bastimentos with tad:

    Yellow Bastimentos:

    Yellow Bastimentos:

    Man Creek:

    Pumilo Froglet:

    Tads:

    "Yellow-belly" male:

    "Yellow-belly" froglet:
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References:
(1) http://www.poison-frogs.nl/

Contributers:
Dane Thaanum (Dane)
Corey Wickliffe (kerokero)
Kyle Kopp (kyle1745)
Oz (rozdaboff)
(Jordan B)


If you would like to see any updates or modifications to this care sheet please let myself or a moderator know.

Last Updated: 1/12/2007
 

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My first response to the "bastimentos form" bit was hey! this is a SPECIES caresheet! We've been listing morphs under the species... but I think with pumilio, you might be right on with seperating out the bastimentos, or at least more "beginner eggfeeder" vs. "advanced eggfeeder" pumilio... bastimentos is a great intro pumilio but there are definately some pumilio that are challenging even for experienced keepers. Maybe there should be an intro pumilio caresheet that lists the pumilio that those starting out to pumilio should look at - bastimentos being the most highly recomended. I believe the man creek would also qualify, as well as bri bri and maybe the chiriqui river? Most of the others currently in the hobby are advanced to expert frogs, and it still remains to be seen how the new FR panama imports rank... tho if the tadpoles of the christobals are any indication, the christobals might be another intro pumilio!

A tip that is purely IMO based on experience... I think its important to have leaf litter as the substrate rather than moss for this species, and any egg feeder (I do it for all my frogs, but any tank with froglets morphing in tank should have leaf litter). As the froglets morph out they are extrememly flighty and will find comfort in the leaf litter, as well as feed on the important microfauna that has developed in the parents' tank over time - IMO i keep froglets in the parent tank and add springtails and FFs for food on a regular basis. Its harder to take a froglet out and raise them in a tank that does not have this microfauna established and may very well be the reason many do not do well with froglets.

Difficulty - Intermediate - the adults can prove very hardy, but the froglets are very sensitive and hard to raise.

Temps - I've heard higher 70s to low 80s to really have success for this morph, but it varies by morph as well.

Breeding Locations: on brom leaves or in film canisters. They also will deposit tads in anything container water, from a bromeliad axil to film canisters filled with water, as long as they are elevated above the ground.

Viv type - pums are terrestrial but due to their tapole deposition sites (above ground) to make room for them the tanks need to be taller to allow for these habits (15/16/18 tall or larger).

Pics:
Basti froglet

w/ tad

yellow


tads on a brom leaf:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My first response to the "bastimentos form" bit was hey! this is a SPECIES caresheet! We've been listing morphs under the species... but I think with pumilio, you might be right on with seperating out the bastimentos, or at least more "beginner eggfeeder" vs. "advanced eggfeeder" pumilio... bastimentos is a great intro pumilio but there are definately some pumilio that are challenging even for experienced keepers.
True, maybe I should change this to D. Pumilio: beginner-intermediate morphs. I would agree that Mancreek, Chiriqui and possibly Bribri could be included to this generalized caresheet. I know my mancreeks like it a little warmer, but maybe someone with experience with the other two morphs could chime in.

A tip that is purely IMO based on experience... I think its important to have leaf litter as the substrate rather than moss for this species...
Agreed, the same goes for temporary/QT containers for pumilio. They seem much more comfortable with leaves rather than sphag.
 

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So should I be reading this "D. Pumilio: beginner-intermediate morphs" as the first morphs of pumlio people should get when they want to try pumilio, but that it is still considered an intermediate frog? If so, I would agree about putting bastis in here... although what do you guys think about the more rare morphs of basti? It seems they are being bred a lot less then the reds/oranges. I would also put Mancreeks in here and possibly the Chiriqui Rivers, but I think the Chiriqui Rivers are a little harder to breed then the Mancreeks. I'm not too sure about adding BriBri in this group, as they still aren't that common and I wouldn't want someone getting them for the first pumilio... just my opinion. All of these morphs are pretty easy to keep, but I think some are a little harder to breed then others. Depending on how great this difference, maybe they should be placed into another level? If someone were to ask me what pumilio morph I should start out with, I would tell them red/orange bastis or Mancreeks. They are pretty easy to breed and also pretty common as far as pumilio go.
 

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Im of the opinion that all pums should be Advanced or higher. While I think they are easy to care for in general the egg feeding, and male aggression alone should get them to advanced. I think they also stress a bit easier than many other species. I then think the extremely rare should be listed as Expert, with some requiring HUGE enclosures to breed and etc...
 

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I agree with Kyle - pumilio should be advanced frogs, tho i think their froglet care is what really throws them in advanced. Even with someone with experience in thumbs, pumilio froglets are hard to get right. I also agree that many of the morphs fall under expert (BJs, darklands, robalos, nancies, etc).

I'm going by ease of care rather than availability - Jon if you notice the pumilio that aren't imported FR from panama have low availability. This doesn't make them harder to care for... and in all honesty I think listing them as easier morphs would give them the attention they need to not fall in the shadow of the FRs which are often cheaper and easier to get ahold of. BriBri are a touch more challenging than Bastis - honestly I think about just every morph is at least a touch harder to way harder lol. They are still a robust and good morph to work with. I think shepard may also be able to be listed... I'm rather on the fence about them. They are highly seasonal breeders... I don't remember them being too hard, but I never bred them either. Hmmm...
 

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I know personally I have had more bad luck with pums and retics than anything else. I have 40 tanks and can count my other issues on 2 hands but ive lost more retics than that alone and am getting close with pums. They are just more touchy.
 

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I would have to say just the opposite, Kyle. All of my pumilio (3 basti forms, Mancreek, Chiriqui) have been the hardiest frogs I've worked with, excepting perhaps Vents. Were your experiences with FR frogs or CB?
 

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I originally thought that they should all be in the advanced or expert section, but I would say that bastis and the Mancreeks have proven very hardy (more so then some thumbs) and have even been bred by people that haven't bred tincs/auratus/etc. Of course I am talking about the FR frogs, so not sure if they are just better breeders then the CB ones or not. I have found that pumilio handle stress better then frogs like retics, some vent types, and fants. However, I would be ok with putting them into the advanced section due to the fact that rearing the froglets is pretty challenging.

Yes Corey, I do know that the pumilio morphs that haven't been imported are lower in availability... jeez do you think I am that out of touch with the hobby these days ;). But I do think availability does play some part in it, as usually things that aren't really available are so for a reason. That reason usually has to do with breeding; low numbers of breeding groups, just harder to breed, or difficult to rear the young. In my book all of those reasons would place a frog more towards the advanced/expert side of the scale. Bribri aren't as easy to breed as bastis or mancreeks, that's why you don't see them for sale that often. I am sure some people are breeding them often, but it still seems like a slightly more rare pumilio morph (and no, I am not compairing it to BJ's and ect). I don't think listing them as easy as bastis would be right. I also wouldn't worry about them fading out of the hobby... they are pumilio so people will always be into them. Also I think Nabor's has a ton of pairs set up. If you were gonna worry about one of the morphs I would lean towards the Sheppards. I hardly hear any talk about them, which is a shame but also has to do with availability. I don't think the Sheppards should be grouped with beginer pums, as they are on the small side and aren't being bred as often. I've known people that have had pairs for years but haven't had much to any luck with them... so I don't consider that a easy frog (especially if you truely have to cycle them).
 

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Both... I have had better luck with the FR than the others but have still lost a couple, and have yet to get 1 froglet in over 4 years. I've tried a number of things but still nothing. My mancreeks are laying eggs but that is a very recent thing in the new tanks.

This is just one of the things, some have great luck and others have very poor another reason they should be kept in advanced because unlike other frogs the results are mixed. Unlike a Azureus where they are almost always ok.

Dane said:
I would have to say just the opposite, Kyle. All of my pumilio (3 basti forms, Mancreek, Chiriqui) have been the hardiest frogs I've worked with, excepting perhaps Vents. Were your experiences with FR frogs or CB?
 

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Yet more pics...

More variation in 'Bastimentos' - a smaller spotted frog:


And a 'Bastimentos' that was a bit on the funky side...


And a 'Man Creek':
 

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We should addresss that CB pums (well established juvies) are pretty tough frogs that will take much warmer and drier conditions compared to other dendrobates. there should be a note about the FR and the WC issues.

But I think the price, the aggression, etc. and the touchiness of the froglets needs to keep them more on the "advanced" side of things.

Because of all the temperature issues I've had, I would say it probably would have been better to save up for pumilio before I purchased mantellas, which are far cheaper, but trickier to breed and keep happy. Even if pums are hardy, their price can be very inhibiting. I probably will get them eventually, but I don't want to have to buy 4 man creeks and then end up with all males.
 

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I think Dane did a great job with his first pass here. The only thing I would add is a suggestion that offspring can have calcium supplementation applied via calcium gluconate drops once or twice per week at a concentration like that suggested by Robb Melancon.

In addition, I would note in the terrarium size section that the "more than 10 gallons" applies to one pair only. I would like to see a reference to the fact that males of most morphs are quite territorial, and dominant behavior can be observed even in 30+ gallon tanks, requiring very close observation of the inhabitants if groups are housed together. This reason, coupled with the fact that these little guys can take a turn for the worse in even one or two days if you aren't paying attention, warrants them to be considered advanced, in my humble opinion.
 

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And you also have to figure in the morphs not present in the US hobby, and the misIDing of frogs by people trying to ID frogs off those morphguides... its one of the reasons I like the idea of the morphs present in the hobby being part of the caresheet...
 
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