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Ranitomeya imitator:
  • Difficulty: Intermediate – Based on size and speed.
  • Location & History – Rainforests of northeastern Peru. Discovered by Schulte (1986, 1999). (1,2)
  • Descriptions & Behavior: Small outgoing to mildly skittish frog. The common name of this species is the mimic poison frog due to their resemblance to other dendrobatids. Three subspecies are recognized:

    Note: These morphs represent unique subpopulations in the wild that share general physical characterisitics, and for that reason different morphs should not be mixed.

    Dendrobates imitator imitator - Aka 'Nominal', 'Green', 'Standard', 'Cainarachi Valley'. Display black spots on a metallic green, legs can be metallic green to blue in color with black spots. Generally mimics D. variabilis. This population evidently shows at least two different "types" in the wild with color and pattern variations, both of which have been represented in the hobby for years by different bloodlines. Most recently, INIBICO has brought in 'Cainarachi Valley', likely the same population already in the hobby, with both the "green striped" type (green markings with large blotched patterns) and the "yellow" type (more yellow coloration with finer, rounder spotting on the back).

    Dendrobates imitator imitator 'Tarapoto' - Similar in apperence to the green D. i. imitator, 'Tarapota' has orange coloration on the back with blue/green legs. Tarapota imitators are relatively rare in the hobby, and should be considered an advanced frog.

    Dendrobates imitator intermedius - Aka 'Standard'. Originally confused, and thought to be a hybrid between D. fantasticus and D. imitator, by the hobby when first introduced, it is merely one of the many variations of D. imitator. Many times it is still incorrectly labled as it's own species, which it is not. These animals display orange netting or lines on a black background. Legs may be orange/black or contain blue/green markings. The populations in the hobby have a huge amount of variation in coloration and pattern typical of D. imitator from the Huallaga Canyon.

    Dendrobates imitator intermedius 'Banded' - Another recent addition to the US hobby imported from Europe, many of these animals were originally thought to be D. fantasticus until they reproduced, the "Yellow Fantasticus" being actual fantisticus, while much of the "Banded Fantasticus" turned out to be D. i. intermedius 'Banded' (which also explains why the "yellow" name has stuck when the fants are actually orange).

    Dendrobates imitator "yurimaguensis" - Like 'Tarapoto', these were imported from Europe into the US hobby in the last couple years. Similar in coloration to the 'Tarapota', these animals generally have a more striped pattern, but may be heavily spotted in some animals to be confused with 'Tarapota'. The animals currently in the hobby do not display as rigid a pattern as the wild 'Yurimaguensis' population, and due to the presence of more than one population of orange imitator in the wild, the "Yuris" in the hobby might not actaully be this population. Due to their rarity, yurimaguensis should be considered an advanced frog.

    Mislabled "imitator":
    "Dendrobates imitator Panguana": At least two of the lowland panguana lamasi types are still called D. imitator in Europe (yellow and orange). This is a bit confusing since there is another lowland panguana lamasi types labled with their correct species. These are all, in fact, members of the species D. lamasi, and their tadpoles show as much, being dark in coloration and showing the bright strip of yellow on the face early in their development, as typical for that species.

    "Dendrobates Uakarii": Another mislabled frog in Europe, but in fact a species in it's own right.
    See Dendrobates.org - Ecology, evolution, and conservation of poison frogs for more details...
  • General Care:
    Temperature range of 70-80º F during the day; nighttime temp drop of up to 10º F if possible

    D. imitator can be housed in pairs or in groups (5+). Housing groups in large enclosures may allow for dynamic behavior observations. However, care should be taken as male-male and female-female aggression can occur.

    Vertically oriented enclosures (vertical 10g, 20H) are ideal, but not required. Bromeliads, large-leaved plants, and vines covering the background (such as creeping fig) offer the frogs security as well as sleeping locations.
  • Breeding & tadpole Care:
    Frogs mature quickly (7-8 months), and males may even begin calling as early as 5 months. Call is very audible, and resembles a cricket chirp. Males will call from laying location to attract female.

    Multiple areas serve as acceptable laying sites for D. imitator including film canisters (black and white) containing water oriented vertically or at a 45 degree angle, bromeliad leaves and axils, vertically oriented leaves (especially overlapping), and even the walls of the vivarium. Tadpoles can be raised by the parents or pulled from the viv.

    Typically 1-3 eggs laid as often as every 5-7 days, but clutch sizes up to 5 eggs have been observed.

    Tadpoles may exhibit cannibalism and should be housed individually. (3) Tadpoles can be fed fish flakes or another mostly protein based diet and detritus (decaying leaves and dead FFs), but it is not recommended to raise tadpoles on a mostly algae based diet. Due to the size of froglets, a readily available supply of springtails is important for young froglets, but stunted and wingless melanogaster will be taken soon after morphing.
  • Pictures:
    Standard Imitator male transporting tad:

    Standard Imitator tad morphing:

    Standard Imitator froglet:

    Standard Imitator Sex Comparison (Female - Left; Male - Right)

    Standard Intermedius:



    Intermedius Banded:

    Standard Intermedius parental care:

    D. imitator yurimaguensis:


References:
(1) www.poison-frogs.com, dart poison frogs, vivaria, plants, together with lots of pictures, films and more. Orchids, bromelia's, mosses, descriptions of dendrobates leucomelas, azureus, pumilio, tinctorius, auratus and how to breed frogs but also fruit
(2) Amphibian Species of the World
(3) http://www.natures-web.org - Tor Linbo
(4) Dendroboard, thread on intermedius imitator lines http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-discussion/33999-intermedius-lines-4.html#post305216


Contributers:
Corey Wickliffe (kerokero)
Kyle Kopp (kyle1745)
npaull
Bill (elmoisfive)
Oz (rozdaboff)
Shawnn Harrington(sports_doc)


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

Last Updated 7/4/2007
 

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heres a little info on 'Varadaro' imitators. basically, they are one of, if not the easiest of the imi populations. they are also one of the bigger ones. i keep mine as a pair because of male-male and female-female aggression. and they lay basically anywhere (leaves, walls, broms, canisters). thats pretty much it, id recommend these as a beginner ranitomeya.

some pictures:











 

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is it known what species the 'tarapoto' imitator is thought to mimic? I can see the resemblance of 'nominal' imitator with R. variabilis, 'banded' imitators with R. summersi, and the 'varadaro' imitator with R. fantasticus.

What i would really like to see is a list of all known imitator morphs and the species/morph they are thought to mimic.

any thoughts?
 

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is it known what species the 'tarapoto' imitator is thought to mimic? I can see the resemblance of 'nominal' imitator with R. variabilis, 'banded' imitators with R. summersi, and the 'varadaro' imitator with R. fantasticus.

What i would really like to see is a list of all known imitator morphs and the species/morph they are thought to mimic.

any thoughts?
Not all of the imitator morphs mimic other species. I think the answer to your question comes with knowledge of the geography of the range of imitator. Tarapoto, Chazuta, and baja Huallaga are located in between the ranges of the spotted morph (variabilis mimic), the banded morph (summersi mimic), and the lowland striped morph (lowland variabilis [formerly ventrimaculata] mimic). Thus, 'Tarapoto', 'Chazuta', and 'baja Huallaga' likely just represent hybrids of the other morphs. This also might explain why these morphs are so variable.
 

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My first Imi's and only Imi's are Varadero's. I love them. But I too have experienced the same sex aggression. I had 2 females brawling and had to separate.
 

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So many of these posts have lost their pictures :(
 
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It'd be nice if someone could update the pictures in these caresheet type documents. Kinda sucks if you're a newer person to the hobby and can't actually see the different varieties because when you google image the locale/morph/whatever you want to call it, you can't always trust it's correct.
 
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