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Description

Diagnosis: Distinguishable from all other dendrobatids by its color pattern: black dorsum and head with irregular yellow blotches behind the eyes, irregular yellow head markings, a pale yellow-green vertebral stripe on the posterior 2/3 of the dorsum, and paired yellow dorsolateral dashes; yellow hourglass figure on underside of chin; black limbs and venter with darker blue reticulation creating round black spots on the limbs and irregular blotches on the venter. Call is a longer, slower, more paced buzz that can be distinguished from the more rapid buzzing call of nearby R. ventrimaculata (Twomey and Brown 2009).

Description: Adult males measure 15.3-17.7 mm SVL. Head slightly narrower than the body. Rounded canthus rostralis with an almost flat and vertical loreal region. Tympanum is round and partially concealed. Ovoid tongue. No maxillary or premaxillary teeth. Relatively large hands with Finger I noticeably shorter than Finger II. Finger discs are moderately expanded with disc on finger III to be moderately larger. Scutes on dorsal surfaces of fingers. Both fingers and toes lack webbing and lateral fringing. Hind limbs are moderately long (adpressed heel reaches the eye) and the tibia may be longer or shorter than the femur. Toe I is short with an unexpanded disc, while Toe II has a slightly expanded disc and Toes III-V have moderately expanded discs. Tarsal keel begins below ankle and continues, becoming medial metatarsal tubercle. Tarsal tubercle lacking. Smooth dorsal skin (Twomey and Brown 2009).

Coloration in life: Black dorsum and head with irregular yellow blotches behind the eyes, irregular yellow head markings, a pale yellow-green vertebral stripe on the posterior 2/3 of the dorsum, and paired yellow dorsolateral dashes; yellow hourglass figure on underside of chin; black limbs and venter with darker blue reticulation creating round black spots on the limbs and irregular blotches on the venter (Twomey and Brown 2009).

Coloration in preservative, black head with large and pale yellow dorsolateral speckles behind each eye. A yellow spot lies on the tip of the snout and a thin yellow stripe lies just anterior to the eyes. Black dorsum with a thin irregular yellowish-gray vertebral stripe extends from the vent towards the eye. Black iris (Twomey and Brown 2009).

At stage 29, the total length of a single collected tadpole specimen is 19.6 mm, while the body length is 7.1 mm and the body width is 4.4 mm. The body appears gray and ovoid with irregular yellow markings. The snout is rounded with nares equidistant between eyes and snout tip. Eyes are black and conspicuous. Spiracle sinistral, vent dextral. Mouth anteroventral, with emarginate oral disc. Serrated jaw sheaths, with posterior sheath having a curved medial indentation. LTRF is 2(2)/3(1). White conical papillae are present. Submarginal papillae are lacking. A1 is complete while A2 has a broad medial gap. P1 has a narrow medial gap while P2 and P3 are complete. Short lateral processes which extend slightly past the lower jaw. Ventral fin starts at base of tail while dorsal fin begins just past vent opening; both fins are uniform height until they taper towards the tail tip (Twomey and Brown 2009).

Tadpole coloration in life: gray ground color with conspicuous yellow dorsal markings. In preservative: mottled brown head and dorsum, white venter with tiny black melanophores. Pale brown gut visible through belly skin. Pale brown tail musculature, with translucent white fins, all having faint pale brown reticulation (Twomey and Brown 2009).

R. defleri is named after Dr. Thomas Defler, who worked in Colombia for 32 years as a primatologist and founded the Estación Biológica Caparú. This field station has served many biologists working in Amazonian Colombia (Twomey and Brown 2009). In 2011, the genus Dendrobates was subdivided into seven genera, including the new genus Ranitomeya by Brown et al (2011).

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