Mantella aurantiaca Mocquard, 1900
Mantella aurantiaca is native to the swamps and nearby humid Pandanus forests in a small part of eastern Madagascar.
Morphology & Colouration:
Mantella aurantiaca is a small, charismatic frog, reaching adult sizes of around 20-31 mm. Males typically reach only 24mm, while females are larger. Like most Mantella species, it has smooth skin and unwebbed toes without toe-pad enlargement.
This species has extremely distinctive colouration, a golden yellow-orange dorsal colouration, with bright red markings on the insides of its shanks. Its ventral skin is like its dorsal colouration, but more transparent.
Habits and Ecology:
Mantella aurantiaca can be found in sun-exposed sites on the ground during the day. The call consists of a series of short notes.
Like all Mantella species, M. aurantiaca sequesters alkaloids from its prey in its skin, making it extremely toxic. Its diet, however, is fairly broad (Woodhead et al. 2007). Nevertheless, it is known to be consumed by Zonosaurus lizards and Thamnosophis snakes (Jovanovic et al. 2009).
Mantella aurantiaca is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, due to its extremely limited distribution, being found at only a few locations, ongoing illegal collection for the pet trade (M. aurantiaca is a CITES II species without an export quota), and the ongoing destruction of its habitat.
Systematics and Taxonomy:
Mantella aurantiaca is easy to distinguish from all other described Mantella species, being most similar to M. milotympanum, but differing from that species by the absence of a black-coloured tympanum and nostril. There are some populations attributed to M. aurantiaca that are taxonomically unclear - they may be another, undescribed species. Genetic variability within M. aurantiaca is low.
First photo by Frank Vassen.
Click here to see more TaxonFiles!
Jovanovic, O., M. Vences, G. Safarek, F. C. E. Rabemananjara & R. Dolch (2009) Predation upon Mantella aurantiaca in the Torotorofotsy wetlands, central-eastern Madagascar. Herpetology Notes 2:95-97
Woohead, C., M. Vences, D. R. Vieites, I. Gamboni, B. L. Fisher & R. A. Griffiths (2007) Specialist or generalist? Feeding ecology of the Malagasy poison frog Mantella aurantiaca. Herpetological Journal 17:225-236