Dendrobatinae are generally small frogs; Andinobates minutus is as small as 13–16 mm (0.51–0.63 in) in snout–vent length. Many species are brightly colored and all are toxic. Alkaloids in Phyllobates are particularly potent.
All species are presumed to show parental care, often by the male. However, some species show biparental care (Ranitomeya), whereas in Oophaga only females care for the tadpoles, feeding them with eggs, their only source of nutrition.
There are eight or seven genera in this subfamily:
Adelphobates (3 species) Andinobates (14 species) Dendrobates (5 species) Excidobates (3 species) Minyobates (Monotypic) Oophaga (9 species) Phyllobates (6 species) Ranitomeya (16 species)
The most specious genera are Ranitomeya and Andinobates. Dendrobates used to be much larger but now contains only five species, having "lost" may species to genera erected later.