Abstract Amphibian faunas of the Lesser Antilles are depauperate, with only a few species being endemic and generally threatened. Allobates chalcopis from the island of Martinique is a particularly enigmatic case being the only known dendrobatid endemic to an oceanic island. This species has previously been suggested as being introduced to Martinique. The question of its true origin remained unresolved because no individuals were found since its formal description in the 1990s. Twenty years after the last observation of the species, we succeeded in finding an isolated population of Allobates chalcopis in Martinique. The rediscovery allowed us to investigate the species’ phylogenetic position, confirming that it is nested within a clade of lowland Amazonian Allobates but nonetheless distantly related to any known species of the group. The arrival of the species in Martinique likely corresponds to an overseas dispersal from South America during the late Miocene, as previously hypothesized for Bothrops lanceolatus and Leptodactylus fallax, two other species endemic to Martinique and surrounding islands. However, the species was not found in its type locality 500 m a.s.l. but 300 m higher in altitude, in herbaceous areas of the summit of Montagne Pelée. The possible range reduction and population decline in combination with the evidence of endemicity of the species highlights the need for a reassignment of the current Red List status. Furthermore, a refined conservation strategy is needed to guarantee the long-term viability of Allobates chalcopis in its native range.