Frog of the Week

Blue Legged Mantella (Mantella expectata)

Blue Legged Mantella
photo from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Common Name: Blue Legged Mantella, Expected Mantella, Tular Mantella
Scientific Name: Mantella expectata
Family: Mantellidae
Location: Madagascar
Size: 0.7 – 1 inch (20 – 26 mm)

The Blue Legged Mantella lives in the southern part of Madagascar in seasonal streams and wet canyons. Their bright colors warn predators that they are poisonous. They accumulate their alkaloid toxins from their diet of ants, other insects, and arthropods. Due to predators being wary of them, the frogs are able to be active during the day. The frogs only have a small life span in the wild, living only 3 years. The Blue Legged Mantella lives a solitary life until the breeding season starts.

Blue Legged Mantella
photo by Mantella Man

The frogs breed during the rainy season, from October to December. Male frogs call out for the females and defend their territory from other males. The female will select a mate and move to an egg laying site. They don’t breed in water, they actually lay their eggs in moist areas on land. The female lays around 70 eggs. The males guard the eggs from predators. The eggs hatch into tadpoles and get washed into streams by the rains.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorized the Blue Legged Mantella as Endangered. The main threat to the frogs is the destruction of their habitat for grazing of cattle and timber harvesting. Sapphire mining is also a threat in some areas. They are also found in the pet trade but people have had success breeding them in captivity. Make sure to buy them from a trusted source that captive breeds them.

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