Mantella ebenaui

Description: Although their common name suggests that they may be dull in appearance, Mantella ebenaui exhibits rather attractive contrasting coloration. Their dorsum is light brown, tan, or copper in color, often with a pale X pattern. There are also populations of frogs that are more varied, displaying different dorsal coloration, and genetic work will need to be done to determine their taxonomic status. Dorsal coloration contrasts with the sides of their body which are usually black, and limbs which are grey and often slightly marbled in dark brown. M. ebenaui is a medium-sized mantella, with large individuals growing to 26 mm (1.0 inch).

* Until 2006, the species M. ebenaui was classified as M. betsileo, and M. betsileo, being unnamed at the time, was usually referred to in literature as “Mantella sp. 1”. The original description of M. betsileo describes the frog as being from (not surprisingly) the Betsileo region of Madagascar, and because the frog formerly called M. betsileo (now M. ebenaui) is not known to occur in that part of the country, the name M. ebenaui was resurrected to describe it.

Red List Conservation Status: Least Concern

Distribution and Habitat: This is one of the few species of Mantella that has a reasonably large distribution, ranging throughout the lowlands and coasts of northern Madagascar. It is also found on the islands of Nosy Be and Saint Marie (Nosy Boraha). They live in a variety of different habitats, from primary rainforest to muddy ditches on the side of pastureland.

Captive Care Notes: Wild-caught M. ebenaui are frequently available to hobbyists, but may often be found for sale as M. betsileo. They are usually passed up for more brightly colored species, and have generally been paid little attention. M. ebenaui is said to be fairly shy in captivity, although it has been suggested that keeping them in the appropriate warmer temperature range and maintaining a high humidity level brings them out in the open more often. Because they are a lowland species, they tolerate warm temperatures well. Captive reproduction occurs infrequently, and captive-bred frogs are only sporadically available.


Glaw, F. & M. Vences. 2006. Phylogeny and genus-level classification of mantellid frogs. Organisms Diversity and Evolution 6: 236-253.

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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