Frog of the Week

Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baroni)


Common Name: Baron’s Mantella, Painted Mantella, Variegated Golden Frog, or Madagascar Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Mantella baroni
Family: Mantellidae
Location: Madagascar
Size: 1.1 inches (30 mm)

Baron’s Mantella frog is a beautiful frog found only in Madagacar, like all members of the family Mantellidae. Their beautiful colors warn predators that they are poisonous. They are just like Poison Dart Frogs in the fact that they accumulate their toxins from their prey, mites, ants, and beetles, instead of making their own. They are active during the day to show off their colors, otherwise the colors would be kinda useless.

The Baron’s Mantella is often called the Painted Mantella in the pet trade. Other Mantella species are often put under this name too, causing some confusion. Most Mantellas in the pet trade are wild caught. This is unfortunate because most of the members of the genus Mantella are endangered. Captive bred frogs are the way to go. Josh’s Frogs offers some captive bred frogs and they also donate to conservation projects for the frogs with every purchase. Captive bred Mantellas are not poisonous so there’s no danger in owning one.

Mantella Frogs have interesting breeding strategies and the Baron’s Mantella is no different. The males of the species will call under bushes, rocks, and grass. There is no amplexus involved in the mating ritual. The female will lay up to 130 eggs on land and then the male will fertilize them. The eggs will develop into tadpoles that hatch once the rains wash the eggs into a water body.

Baron's Mantella
photo by Frank Vassen

The Baron’s Mantella is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. While this Mantella Frog is doing well, many others from the genus aren’t and are facing extinction. The major threat to the frogs is the destruction of their forests to make room for more housing and agriculture. We need to find a better way to coexist with these animals.


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