Ranitomeya vanzolinii from near the town of Atalaya southeastern Peru. Photo by Evan Twomey.
Known from central Peru east of the Rio Ucayali into Brazil. This species has a large range that encompasses much of the lowlands southeast of Pucallpa. View type locality in Google Maps.
This species is somewhat larger than other species in the vanzolinii genetic group. Depending on the forest types where they are found, they can live in tree holes or phytotelmata. Caldwell reported biparental care in this species, and pairs are often found living in very close proximity (often the same plant). They are locally abundant where present, and are usually found where there are ample host plants. There are very little differences between populations, but some tend to be more spotted whereas others have more of a comma-like spotting.
This is a species that has been smuggled in extreme quantities for the past several years. We visited a region where they once had been extremely abundant only to find three individuals in nearly a week of intense searching. They are well known by the locals, and because of their nature to live in groups where host plants are found, it is easy to collect entire populations of them, essentially causing their extirpation. At least in Europe, they are now abundant in captivity from the original stock of illegal imports. Legal frogs are now available through imports via Understory Enterprises.
Nominal member of the vanzolinii genetic group, being the first species described in this group. Sister to R. flavovittata.