Bio Facts: Mantella, Painted
East-central Madagascar, from Fierenana south to Andringitra, at an elevation of 1,968 – 3,937 ft (600-1,200m)
Subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montanes, rivers, and heavily degraded former forest
Adult length: about 0.86 – 1.18 in (22 – 30 mm); coloration: head, back, and flanks are solid black; a yellowish rostral stripe is apparent, generally ending past the eye; the front limb and femur are yellow to greenish in appearance, with this coloration continuing up the flanks into a large, rounded flank blotch; flank blotches will sometimes expand dorsally across the back and connect to the opposite side blotch, resulting in a more yellow back; hindlimbs (tibia, tarsus, and foot) are orange with irregular black stripes; there are no flashmarks on the lower hindlimbs; venter, throat, and limbs are black and marked with a few yellow to greenish, rarely blue blotches; throat has one circular marking, but may be all black; iris is black.
In the wild, they eat various arthropods, with ants being the largest percentage of the diet; in the Zoo, they are fed small crickets and fruit flies.
IUCN – Least Concern; CITES – Appendix II
Mantella baroni is an active diurnal forager, consuming a greater number of prey, as well as larger prey, than do other species of Mantella.
Males emit an intense sequence of short, single-click notes, calling during the day from refuges under grass, bushes, and rocks. Mantelline frogs lack amplexus. Females lay eggs on land. The eggs are unpigmented and always found close to water. Females can lay up to 130 eggs in one clutch. When the eggs develop into tadpoles, the tadpoles are washed away by rain into a nearby body of water.
Ingestion of ants, beetles, and mites creates high alkaloid concentrations in the frog’s skin, making it toxic to predators. Although ants are the primary prey, the majority of toxins come from mites. The bright colors of M. baroni are thus aposematic and serve as a warning sign of their toxicity. The mechanism that the frog uses to sequester these alkaloids is unknown. Alkaloid composition can vary both temporally and geographically in this species.
Mantellas are in the Anuran suborder Neobatrachia, which literally means “new frogs” (from the Hellenic words “neo”, meaning “new” and “batrachia” meaning frogs). This suborder is the most advanced and apomorphic (a characteristic believed to have evolved within the tree) of the three anuran orders alive today. It is also by far the largest of the three; its more than 5,000 different species make up over 96% of all living anurans.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Although somewhat adaptable, deforestation does affect it adversely. It is in the international pet trade, but this is unlikely to be a serious threat.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
This species was first added to the Jacksonville Zoo’s animal collection in 2010.