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Ranitomeya imitator 'Tarapota' (Pepper Line, Captive Bred) - Mimic Poison Frog

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5.0 out of 5 stars


About This Product

Defining Characteristics:

  • Great beginner thumbnail
  • Bright, yellow-orange metallic coloration
  • Bold
  • Easy to breed
  • Quiet call
  • Small
  • Great in pairs or groups

Name: Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'. Formerly known as Dendrobates imitator, this frog is commonly known as the Mimic Poison Dart Frog due to it's apparent mimickry of thumbnail species that occur sympatrically. Commonly called imis in the hobby, or simply by it's morph name, 'Tarapota' are a small, spectacularly colored poison dart frog. These animals descend from Mark Pepper stock (before Understory Enterprises), and tend to have many more, smaller black spots and a more yellow-orange metallic base color on the body.

Recommended Vivarium Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is suitable for 2-3 Ranitomeya imitator, but Josh's Frogs recommends a 20H or 18x18x18 Vivarium for 1-3 frogs. Not sure how to set up a vivarium? Please watch our video on How to Set Up a Vivarium.

Temperature: They can tolerate a temperature range of 65 F to 80 F, but prefer temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Temperatures over 85F are dangerous.

Humidity: Like most poison dart frogs, imitators prefer a humidity range of 80 – 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.

Size: Adult female and male R. imitator ''Tarapota'' are similar in length, measuring in at around an inch. All of the Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'' froglets Josh's Frogs sells are well started juveniles, and measure at least 1/2” long.

Age: Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'' is capable of living well over 10 years in captivity under ideal conditions, although a lifespan of 5-8 years is more common. All imis for sale at Josh's Frogs are well started juveniles, and are 2-3 months old.

Feeding: Like most poison dart frogs, imitators prefer smaller foods. All of the thumbnail dart frogs sold by Josh's Frogs will readily eat Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. 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: These frogs are fairly easy to sex as adults. Females are much wider than males, as they lay eggs frequently. Josh's Frogs sells 2-3 month old juveniles 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: 'Tarapota' imitators are fairly consistent in color and pattern. Exhibiting a yellow or orange body, speckled with black dots or blotches, they are a striking little thumbnaill dart frog! Josh's Frogs does not recommend, support, or endorse line breeding as we believe this leads to weaker captive animals and nature has done a wonderful job of creating an amazing variation in color and pattern of poison dart frogs already.

Social Behavior: Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'' do well housed in groups their entire life as long as enough space is provided. Josh's Frogs recommends approximately 5 gallons per frog. As they reach sexual maturity at 5-8 months of age, the social dynamic in a group of imitator dart frogs may change and females may eat each other's eggs, although most will even breed together in the same film canister! 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: Imitators are one of the easiest poison dart frogs to breed. Best bred in pairs, males call to attract a female to a suitable egg laying site. Then, 4-8 eggs are laid on a smooth surface (often in a film canister or a bromeliad). The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which then take 60-80 days to complete metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults. Tadpoles will feed on dead fruit flies, the standard frog and tadpole bites/sera micron fare, and even unfertilized eggs if left in with 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: Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'' is a lowland species, inhabiting the hills near Tarapoto, Peru.

History in the Hobby: Imitators have been around in the hobby for quite a while, This line was founded by Mark Pepper of Canada.

Links of Interest: - article on Ranitomeya imitator

Imitator Poison Dart Frog - Wikipedia

DendroBase - Ranitomeya imitator

Imitator - IUCN Redlist

Ranitomeya imitator caresheet on Dendroboard

Josh's Frogs Blog on Thumbnail Dart Frogs

Still not sure if Ranitomeya imitator ''Tarapota'' from Josh's Frogs are the right poison dart frog for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!


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5.0 out of 5 stars

Cute little frogs

These are my first dart frogs, but I've been researching tropical vivariums and dart care for over a year before making a purchase. I bought 2 pepper line Tarapota Imitators from JF's, they live in a 12x12x18 vivarium and they're loving it. The frogs came healthy and happy from JF's. Currently only had them for a month or so but they are eating and exploring well. Very pretty frogs. One is more bold and is visible at all times, while the other likes to hide more often. They definitely appreciate vertical space and ledges / leaves to climb on -- they love to explore, and are almost like tree frogs in the way they can climb the glass and plants. Very cool little frogs.


5.0 out of 5 stars

Update to previous review

I just want to update my previous review, because I'm so happy with these frogs! I've had them for over a year now and they are both happy and healthy. I was lucky enough to end up with a M/F pair, and now they've bred and I have baby froglets! The parents are a bit reclusive, but I see them often enough especially when feeding. The male has a beautiful sounding call, and the pair spends all their time together. Very cute. Thanks JF for great frogs!


5.0 out of 5 stars

Update: 2 years later

As an update to my previous review, I would like to comment on how wonderful my Imitators still are: I was lucky enough to end up with a breeding pair, and so far they have produced 7 froglets! I've been selling the offspring to a local shop though because I don't want them to infight. Anyways, love these frogs, they are bold, personable, and have a beautiful call. I highly recommend them. Thanks JF!


5.0 out of 5 stars

Beautilul mini "Jaguars"

Beautiful and very active, Great singers too. Their sound makes a good complement to the waterfall... Which I had a larger Paludarium to have more...


5.0 out of 5 stars


My frogs came packed perfectly especially in 30 degree weather. They came happy and gorgeous. They instantly started eating and hopping around. Very healthy and active.

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