Frog of the Week

Beautiful Mantella (Mantella pulchra)

Beautiful Mantella
photo by Joshua Ralph

Common Name: Beautiful Mantella, Parker’s Mantella, Splendid Mantella
Scientific Name: Mantella pulchra
Family: Mantellidae
Locations: Madagascar
Size: 0.82 – 1 inches (21 – 25 mm)

The Beautiful Mantella lives along the streams in the rain forests of northeastern Madagascar. They are mainly active during the day, thanks to their bright colors that warn predators that they are poisonous. Mantellas are very similar to Poison Dart Frogs (family Dendrobatidae), however, they aren’t closely related. The genus Mantella is split into five different groups and the Beautiful Mantella belongs to the Mantella madagascariensis group.

Mating season and the rainy season coincide. The males start calling to attract females with the first of the rains. Females lay around 50 eggs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Beautiful Mantella as Near Threatened with Extinction. It is close to being listed as Vulnerable to Extinction. The frog lives a a strip of jungle on the northeastern side of the island. Sadly, the jungle is being destroyed to make room for houses and farms, make charcoal, or just for timber. Invasive eucalyptus is also destroying the normal forest habitat. More conservation actions are needed to help protect the species.

Mantellas are very popular in the pet trade but over harvesting of wild species is causing population declines. Always make sure you are buying captive bred frogs!

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