Mantella aurantiaca

Description: Mantella aurantiaca has introduced many people to mantella frogs. They are uniformly yellow, orange or red in color.   M. aurantiaca has been recorded as growing to 31 mm (1.2 inches) in length, but most individuals stay smaller. Males are more slender in appearance and generally do not grow to be as large as females. Adult male frogs also call. In addition to their smaller size and vocal ability, male M. aurantiaca can be distinguished from females by the presence of femoral glands on the underside of their thighs. These are white and rough-looking in appearance. M. aurantiaca is closely related to M. crocea and M. milotympanum.

Red List Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Distribution and Habitat: Inhabits high altitude (~900 – 1160 m above sea level) swamp forests in east-central Madagascar. Less than two dozen localities are known. Most of the year is spent in forest bordering low moist swampy depressions, where frogs move to during the rainy season to breed.

Captive Care Notes: Wild-caught M. aurantiaca were common in the North American pet trade until the early 2000's, before which they were exported in large (probably too large) numbers. Between 2004 and 2008 no M. aurantiaca were exported from Madagascar, and since re-establishing an export quota for the species in 2009 only small numbers of M. aurantiaca have been made available to help protect wild populations which may suffer from over-collection. Fortunately, M. aurantiaca is one of the easiest species of Mantella to breed in captivity, and captive-bred frogs are not difficult to locate with patience.

Being both bold and hardy, M. aurantiaca is an excellent species for those interested in keeping mantella frogs for the first time. Males often put on a show for the keeper, bouncing back and forth throughout the terrarium while wrestling each other over territory. Care is fairly straightforward, with M. aurantiaca greedily eating most commonly available feeders, and living well in simple, hygienic setups, as well as more elaborate natural terrariums. They are sensitive to warm temperatures and, like other species of Mantella found at higher altitudes, may succumb to heat stress when exposed to temperatures of 25°C-27°C (77°F-81°F) or above for extended periods of time.


Bora, P., R. Dolch, R. Jenkins, O. Jovanovic, F. Rabemananjara, J. Randrianirina, J. Rafanomezantsoa, L. Raharivololoniaina, O. Ramilijaona, N. Raminosoa, R. Randrianavelona, A. Raselimanana, B. Razafimahatratra, T. Razafindraibe, and M. Vences. 2008. Geographic distribution of three species of Malagasy poison frogs of high conservation priority: Mantella aurantiaca, M. crocea and M. milotympanum. Herpetology Notes 1: 39-48.

Staniszewski, Marc. Mantellas. Frankfurt, Germany: Chimaira, 2001.

Vences, M., F. Glaw & W. Böhme. 1999. A review of the genus Mantella (Anura, Ranidae, Mantellinae): taxonomy, distribution and conservation of Malagasy poison frogs. Alytes 17 (1-2): 3-72.


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