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Dendrobates captivus is one of the smallest known species of poison frogs, with adults measuring 15-17 mm in SVL. Adults are black with reddish-orange spots or dashes aligned dorsolaterally. Yellow dorsal spots present above armpits and groin. Ventral color black with irregular pale-yellow spots, typically occurring under the chin, under the thighs, and irregularly under the belly and chest. First finger shorter than second although well developed.

Tadpole are pale gray and ovoid, with a labial tooth row formula of 2(2)/3(1).


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