Mantella, Bronze-backed

Mantella betsileo

Adult length: about 1.2 in (30 cm); coloration: back yellowish to reddish or light brown, usually with diamond shaped markings; strong border between dorsal coloration and the blackish flanks; light frenal stripe along the upper lip usually until snout tip; ventral coloration black with blue spots, which are extended onto the throat; upper half of the iris golden; tibiotarsal articulation mostly reaches the eye.








Western and southwestern Madagascar


Subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, rivers, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marches, rural gardens, heavily degraded former forest, ponds, and canals and ditches from sea level up to 2,952 ft (900 m)

Life Expectancy


Sexual Maturity



In the wild, they eat small flies, ants, beetles and other small insects; in the Zoo, they are fed small crickets and fruit flies.


IUCN – Least Concern; CITES – Appendix II


It is a terrestrial species. Breeding occurs in permanent and temporary still waters. The eggs are laid on land near water, and the larvae develop in temporary and permanent pools, and sometimes in brooks. Calling and foraging both during day and night. Calls are a series of short double-click notes.


The genus Mantella has many similarities with the South American poison dart frogs. They are small, secrete alkaloid toxins, and are aposematically colored (having warning coloration to alert potential predators to toxicity).

Special Interests

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 wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. It is an adaptable species, and there are few, if any, habitat-related threats, though it might be impacted by fires and by overgrazing by livestock. It is has been suggested that over collecting for commercial and private purposes is a threat, but it is only traded in low numbers.


Jacksonville Zoo History

This species was first added to the Jacksonville Zoo’s animal collection in 2009.


Seronera Reptile House