Ranitomeya fantastica is one of the larger species of thumbnails with some females reaching an inch in length. The species is extremely variable across its entire range and fully deserving of the species name fantastica. The bright orange heads of the ones from Varadero and the orange head offset by the cream neck band on the holotype frogs from Yurimaguas are particularly striking.
Like R. benedicta, courting is initiated by the male with a buzzing call similar to R. variabilis but repeated for 5 to 10 seconds. The call can be heard easily outside the enclosure. If interested the female will follow the male around the enclosure, walking in a jerky fashion and stroking his back. These frogs lay 3 to 8 light gray eggs every 10 to 14 days on horizontal surfaces, often showing preference for overlapping leaves on short plants or in the leaf litter. Our frogs lay in film canisters, and prefer ones that are black, mounted amongst leaves with the opening facing the rear of the enclosure. The male will transport tads, frequently 2-3 at a time to water, including film canisters.
Care: Intermediate, large as adults but rocket fast, sometimes shy
Groups: Yes, male heavy
Breeding: Easy - Moderate, horizontal film canisters on their sides or in the leaf litter, sometimes leaflitter used exclusively
Tadpoles: No parental care after deposition, recommend pulling after deposition
Froglets: Small - Medium, springtails are a help
Tips: It can be hard to find eggs. Sometimes it's best to provide plenty of deposition sites and just pull tads. Try placing film canisters at the back of the enclosure with just a small gap between the opening and the back of the vivarium.