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Fun Mantella Facts For Kids

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Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Fun Mantella Facts For Kids

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The Mantella frog comes under the categorization of poison frogs and is found on the island of Madagascar. Their scientific name is Mantella aurantiaca and they are also commonly known as Malagasy poison frogs. They come from the order Anura family mantellidae genus. Mantella are very small in size and have bright-colored skin due to toxins present in them which have pharmacologically active alkaloids secretions. The most famous Mantella frog is the golden Mantella which has a bright yellow color just like golden poison frogs found in the South American region. Earlier, it was believed that Mantella frogs and poison dart frogs from South America were not distant relatives but were in fact closely related. DNA studies have now shown that they are only distant relatives. Mantella is sexually dimorphic, which means that the male-female species could have a different color and other characteristics too. The females are larger than the male Mantella. Their bright-colored skin like blue, orange, or green color tells us that we shouldn’t touch them as they are categorized as poison frogs.

Read on to learn all about Mantellas. Afterward, check out our facts on common frog and goliath frog.
 

Mantella Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mantella?

Mantella is a type of aposematic frog. Their bright-colored skin works as a warning to all predators to not attack them as they have a strong defense. They have jet black eyes that bulge. Short legs and smooth skin with bright colors and patterns.

What class of animal does a Mantella belong to?

Mantella belongs to the amphibians class. Some of the species of Mantella have been categorized as Critically Endangered.

How many Mantellas are there in the world?

It would be difficult to count as they are small living creatures that are found only on the island of Madagascar naturally and are also bred in various simulated environments for the purpose of studying. Several sub-species of the Mantella like the blue-legged Mantella are critically endangered. They also face danger from certain predators.

Where does a Mantella live?

Mantella tadpoles live in primary and secondary rainforests, swamps, bamboo forests, small pools, semi-arid stream beds, seasonal streams, montane grasslands savannah, and wet canyons.

What is a Mantella habitat?

Mantella frogs are known as upland species as they are found at an altitude of 900 m. They are found in moist, humid, and temperate climate regions, which have mossy or grassy mounds of forest debris with shallow swampy waters. Human inhabitation and pollution have led to depletion in Mantella populations. The contamination of their natural living place has also reduced the efficiency of their poisonous defense mechanism.

Who do Mantellas live with?

Adult Mantellas live in colonies. This colony consists of two males and one female. The males define their areas by making a clicking noise to call out a female. If another male wanders into their territory they wrestle to keep the intruder out. A group of Mantella frogs is called an army.

How long does a Mantella live?

The Mantella life span ranges between five to ten years.

How do they reproduce?

The Mantella is known to take on a variety of sexual strategies like having aquatic tadpoles to direct development eggs, meaning there is no tadpole development stage. Some Mantella frogs have a unique form of amplexus which is an embrace that a frog is known to undertake to bring about fertilization of eggs. Mantella frog reaches sexual maturity 12-14 months after birth. On attaining sexual maturity after 14 months, the female Mantella conceives. The male Mantella frogs are known to sit on the heads of the female and let their sperm run down on the back so that it can drip on the simultaneously extruded eggs by the females.

Sometimes, on the arrival of the first big rainstorm, the female Mantellas deposit their eggs near water, on damp leaf litter, or in a short tunnel. The male Mantellas then tend to these eggs till the tadpoles hatch in the water. The tadpoles may take 45-360 days to become adults in the damp leaf litter depending on the sub-species.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Mantella frogs is Critically Endangered for certain sub-species. While the life span of a Mantella can go up to 10 years, a lot of human-caused factors have reduced the native population of the Mantella frogs, especially the golden Mantella, necessitating their conservation. Overcollection by the pet industry, deforestation, and human encroachment have resulted in a sharp decline of the Mantella frogs. A lot of conservation efforts are being made to restore the natural habitat of the island of Madagascar so that the flora and fauna of this island can return to their previous state.

Mantella Fun Facts

What do Mantellas look like?

Mantella tadpoles are known for their brightly colored skin with unique patterns sometimes. This happens due to the toxic chemicals that they imbibe from their prey that they eat. The adult snout-vent length is typically 1.25 in, very rarely a 1.5 in length Mantella is found. Mantella frogs have jet-black eyes. They have very short legs with stick disks like fingers and toes in place of the webbed toes which are found in regular frogs.  

This frog of genus Mantella is known for its bright colors.

How cute are they?

One of the most interesting Mantella fun facts is that people love to look at a Mantella to enjoy the brilliant colors and spectacular patterns on their small bodies. They are cute and definitely have exotic colors but should be viewed from far away only because of the poisonous toxins present on their skin.

How do they communicate?

One of the interesting facts about Mantella frogs is that the males make loud short clicks to attract the females and mark their territories. Otherwise, they are not known to make much sound. They may use visual or chemical cues to communicate.

How big is a Mantella?

Among the golden Mantella frog facts for kids is that Mantella are known to grow 1.25 in long, and very rarely we can find a 1.5 in long Mantella.

How far can a Mantella leap?

Given their small size, they may not be able to leap to a great distance. Their legs are short so that they can climb with ease. They also have sticky swollen fingertips to help them get a better grip while walking.

How much does a Mantella weigh?

Different types of Mantella weigh only two oz or less. Due to their sizes, they are not very heavy or developed creatures.  

What are their male and female names of the species?

Both the male and female Mantella species are known as Mantella. The male ventral surface is lighter in color and therefore the seminiferous ducts are visible which carry the sperms and urine for the males. The females also have seminiferous ducts but it is hidden behind the uterus and the oviducts. The seminiferous ducts of females aid in urine transportation only.

What would you call a baby Mantella?

A baby Mantella is known as a tadpole, like all baby frogs, irrespective of whether it is a green Mantella, Daggerfall Mantella, painted Mantella, or any other Mantellas.

What do they eat?

They eat ants, termites, and fruit flies. Their diet is insectivorous. They can eat any arthropod that can fit in their mouth. The golden Mantella frogs are known to eat anything they can fit in their mouths regardless of taste.

Are they poisonous?

They are a poisonous species that secrete toxins. But the toxins they secrete (not the golden Mantella) do not cause death. It is toxic enough to deter potential predators and leave a bad taste in their mouths. Due to human encroachment, the toxic nature of their poison/toxins is decreasing greatly as they remove this poison from the food they eat and the humans are taking away the complete ecosystem in which they thrive. This has made them weak and defenseless, making their survival difficult.  

Would they make a good pet?

It wouldn’t be advisable to keep the Mantellas as pets, due to their depleting population and poisonous skin. They are an endangered species and special Mantella frog care groups have been formed to improve the ecological surrounding of the Mantella species to increase their population and protect them.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

There are several species of Mantellas that are not poisonous, but they could secret similar substances that are toxic in nature.

A golden Mantella has a life span of up to 10 years. Golden Mantella frogs eat anything even if the taste is repulsive. When frogs swallow their food, their bulgy eyes close and move towards their head to apply pressure on the food to be swallowed.

While most frogs are nocturnal, Mantella frogs are diurnal so are active during the day. They spend most of their time foraging for food.  Like most frogs, Mantella frogs can "drink" through their skin, soaking up water without opening their mouths.

There is a new threat to the amphibian population of Mantella frogs known as Amphibian Chytrid fungus which is killing the Mantella frogs by infecting their skin. Efforts are being made to introduce new bacteria in the habitat to improve the chances of Mantella frogs against this fungus.

Types of Mantellas

There are currently 16 species of Mantella. They are defined either by their living condition or their colors. Some of the Mantella species are Climbing Mantella, Marojejy Mantella, Brown Mantella, Blue-legged Mantella, Green Mantella, Baron's Mantella, Golden Mantella, Malagasy Mantella, Black-eared Mantella, Beautiful Mantella, and many others.

How to care for a Mantella?

It is not advisable to keep Mantella frog species as a pet, as they require their natural habitat to thrive. Uncontrolled human activity in the rainforest and other such places has led to habitat loss as a result of which the population of Mantella is decreasing rapidly. New efforts are being made to protect and renew the ecological system in which the Mantella frogs can thrive because of their distinct requirements.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including pool frog, or Panamanian golden frog.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Mantella coloring pages.

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