Mantella madagascariensis

Description: Mantella madagascariensis is an attractive species. A green or yellowish rostral stripe runs along the top of the head. This usually meets with a green blotch where the forelimbs meet the body. Additional green blotches are present at the insertion of the hind limbs, which themselves are marbled or striped in orange, brown, and/or black. The dorsum is usually black, although there are some frogs from certain populations that have yellowish-green marbling on it. This color morph with a patterned dorsum has often been referred to as “M. loppei” in literature, a species name that is now considered erroneous. M. madagascariensis is easily confused with M. baroni, and certain populations of M. pulchra (to which it is closely related.) See Correctly Identifying Mantella baroni and Mantella madagascariensis for more information.

Red List Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Distribution and Habitat: M. madagascariensis has a limited range in east-central Madagascar. A population exists sympatrically with M. baroni in the southern part of their range, near Ranomafana National Park. They are found in rainforest, often bordering streams.

Captive Care Notes: In the North American pet trade, wild-caught M. madagascariensis are often available during particular times of the year, usually during the winter months which coincide with the rainy season in Madagascar. They are often incorrectly labeled as M. baroni, or are simply called “painted mantellas” by dealers, which can make obtaining properly identified frogs difficult. Reproduction in captivity occasionally occurs, but captive-bred frogs are not consistently available. Males are particularly fun to watch in captivity, as they are especially bold and will call for hours on end after a heavy misting. Females are more timid, and are not often observed unless they are hunting for food. Cool conditions are required in order for M. madagascariensis to do well in captivity, with a range from 19°C to 25°C (66°F to 77°F) working well. During a simulated dry season, the temperature can fall as low as 15°C (59°F) without problems.


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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