Ranitomeya defleri from Rio Apaporis, Colombia. Photo by Jason Brown.
This species is known from two localities in southeastern Colombia in the lower Apaporis and Caqueta drainages. Both localities are at very low elevations, but appear to be above the level of the flood zone. This species may occur more widely throughout Colombia and likely Brazil. View type locality in Google Maps.
This species is somewhat arboreal, and appears to breed in small arboreal bromeliads. A pair was observed courting in the central axil of a bromeliad, which also contained a single tadpole. The habitat where R. defleri occurs is wet year-round. This species was found in primary, undisturbed forest, although population densities appear to be low. Males were heard calling from bromeliads and concealed locations near the bases of large trees.
This species appears to be sympatric with Ranitomeya ventrimaculata. Although the calls of the two species seem superficially similar, note length and note spacing are far more drawn-out in R. defleri, whereas R. ventrimaculata notes are quicker and more staccato.
Twomey and Brown (2009) suggest this species be listed as Least Concern. Although the distribution of this species is not fully known, the area near the type locality is undisturbed and there is very little human activity in the area. Therefore, there is little risk that this species’ habitat will be degraded in the near future.
This species was included in a sketch by Silverstone (1975) based on a single specimen collected in the early 1950s. However, Silverstone allocated this specimen to “Dendrobates quinquevittatus“, and it received no attention until an expedition to the Apaporis region in late 2008.
Ranitomeya defleri is sister to R. toraro, a species recently described (Brown and Twomey et al., 2011) from western Brazil. Together these species form the defleri group ofRanitomeya.