Frog of the Week

Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca)

Golden Mantella
photo by Henk Wallays

Common Name: Golden Mantella
Scientific Name: Mantella aurantiaca
Family: Mantellidae
Location: Madagascar
Size: 0.75 – 1.2 inches (19 – 31 mm)

Often when people think of poisonous frogs, they think of poison dart frogs. Did you know that members of the family Mantellidae can be poisonous? The Golden Mantella have a bright yellow or orange color to show predators that they are poisonous. Due to the frog being poisonous, they are able to be active during the day. They accumulate their poison from the insects they eat in the wild. Therefore, they aren’t poisonous in captivity. Individuals vary in color from yellow to orange.

Due to them being diurnal (active during the day) and not poisonous in captivity, they are often found in the pet trade. They are still harvested illegally for the pet trade but captive bred individuals aren’t hard to find. It is said that they are fairly easy to keep. It is estimated that the average lifespan is 8 years. 

Golden Mantella

Breeding for the Golden Mantella is interesting. The pair of frogs lay their eggs on moist leaf litter on land. Females lay between 12 to 30 eggs. Eventually, the rains eventually sweep the mass of eggs into pools of water where they hatch and the tadpoles come out. It takes about 70 days for the tadpoles to complete their metamorphosis into froglets. 

Sadly, the Golden Mantella is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. The frogs lives in a small forest that faces many threats. The forest faces threats of destruction to make room for more urban areas, farms, and to harvest more timber. Better protections are needed to save the frog. Many zoos have captive bred populations of the frogs just incase they become extinct in the wild.

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