Recent searches (0)
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Mantellas are one of the showiest and most cryptic frogs you can come across in the wild. They are endemic to the island of Madagascar. The frog genus Mantella has 16 species and five species groups, all belonging to the order Anura, family Mantellidae, and class Amphibia. One of these Mantella species is Mantella madagascariensis, also known by various common names such as the painted mantella, Madagascan mantella, Malagasy painted mantella, Malagasy mantella, and Madagascar golden frog.
The painted mantella frog species is closely related to Parker's mantella (Mantella pulchra) and very similar in appearance to Baron's mantella (Mantella baroni). In fact, the similarity in appearance between Mantella baroni and Mantella madagascariensis leads to the former being informally called the painted mantella despite it belonging to a distinct species altogether. It is this striking similarity that often leads breeders, pet owners, and collectors to acquire the wrong species. Like other members of the Mantella genus, the Madagascan mantella's skin harbors toxic substances. One of the many frog adaptations, the animals use these toxins as a defense against predators.
Populations of the painted mantella frogs are native to East-Central Madagascar. These mantellas are quite colorful in their appearance and can be pretty difficult to spot when concealed among foliage in the wild. Stout and small, the dorsal (upper) surface of the body is largely black, with bright yellowish-green blotches marking the flanks and sometimes extending to the dorsum. The legs are yellow to green with distinct reddish-orange flash marks. Overall, the frogs are variable in their color pattern and markings and bear significant resemblance to another mantella frog species, Mantella baroni.
Unfortunately, large-scale habitat loss and the introduction of exotic species have brought these visually splendid amphibians close to being critically endangered. Out of the 16 species of mantella frogs, a majority are either Vulnerable or Critically Endangered due to global climate change, pollution, habitat loss, the illegal pet trade, and the introduction of invasive species. Currently, the IUCN Red List categorizes the painted mantella frog as Vulnerable.
There's more to the interesting painted mantellas. Read on to discover!
The painted mantella is a species of frog in the family Mantellidae.
Painted mantellas belong to the class of Amphibia.
An estimate of the total population size of painted mantellas is not available. However, they are vulnerable to becoming endangered and have a decreasing population trend globally.
Painted mantellas are endemic to Madagascar, particularly East-Central Madagascar. Populations are found from the Niagarakely Waterfalls, south, up to the Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar. The animal can live at elevations of 2,296-3,445 ft (700-1,050 m) above sea level.
The Madagascan painted mantellas naturally inhabit areas along rivers or streams, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, or subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. These animals are ground-dwellers. When kept as pets, Mantella frogs require high humidity levels. They thrive best at a humidity range of 80-100% and a temperature range of 72-76 F (22.2-24.4 C). In fact, these animals cannot sustain extreme heat and may die if the temperature exceeds 80 F (26.6 C). The substrate of the frog's shelter should be such that it holds humidity. Commercial rainforest substrate or coconut husk works well. The substrate may be covered with sphagnum moss or a sheet to help retain moisture. Besides, a source of UVB lighting may also be beneficial for the animals.
No information is available as to whether the painted mantellas spend a solitary life or live in groups. The bright yellow, orange, and red-colored golden mantella frogs (Mantella aurantiaca) are known to live in groups comprising twice as many males as females.
On average, mantella frogs have a lifespan in the range of 5-10 years in the wild.
Not much is known about the specific breeding details of painted mantellas except that breeding takes place in streams, the females lay eggs on land, and the tadpoles develop into froglets in water streams. In general, Mantella frog females in the wild lay eggs in moist and enclosed sites such as damp leaf litter, rocks, or depressions in moss or sponge near a water source. The number of eggs laid may vary with the maturity of the females and the specific Mantella frog type. Several males may fertilize the eggs, which are then incubated for about two to six days. Depending on the specific Mantella frog, the tadpoles may take anything between 45-360 days to metamorphose into froglets. The froglets, in turn, reach breeding maturity in about 12-15 months.
As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the painted mantella is Vulnerable in the wild. Primary threats to these animals include the loss and degradation of inhabited areas due to developmental activities, agriculture, aquaculture, logging, collection for the live pet trade, diseases, and the introduction of non-native species.
The painted mantella is a tiny but strong amphibian with females slightly larger than the males. The colorful and variegated painted mantella frog colors are what make the animal a sight to behold. The frogs have an overall blackish body, particularly the dorsum, upper head surface, and flanks. A yellowish or green rostral stripe begins from the mouth and extends behind to outline the upper part of the eye. The humerus and femur are yellowish-green, and the color extends to the flanks and sometimes into the dorsum as large blotches. The foot, tibia, and tarsus are reddish-orange with patches of black.
The painted mantellas and the similar-looking Mantella baroni will surely remind you of the South American poison dart frogs of the family Dendrobatidae. In fact, poison dart frogs and Mantella baroni are distant relatives. The striking and unconventional color patterns that members of both families exhibit is an example of a biological phenomenon called aposematism. Aposematic features are seen in the frogs' rostral line and the bright colorations on the limbs. Through these visual signals, toxic and poison-producing animals such as Mantella baroni advertise their dangerous nature to any potential predator. A diet rich in mites allows these frogs to release toxins in their skin in the form of alkaloid substances. Hence, the dazzling colors serve as a warning signal that feeding on these frogs could be harmful or deadly.
The tiny proportions of the painted mantella do make them cute to a certain degree. However, its dark body contrasted with splashes of vibrant colors lends a more enigmatic and charming look.
Mantella frog males are known to make loud and short clicking sounds to mark territory and attract females. Besides, visual and chemical cues include vibrant body colorations to convey their toxic nature to predators, particularly in Mantella baroni.
A male painted mantella can have a body length between 0.83-0.86 in (21-22 mm), and a female is about 0.94-0.98 in (24-25 mm). It is almost four to five times smaller than a tree frog.
No information is available as to how fast the painted mantellas can swim. They are terrestrial animals that spend most of their time moving on land.
An estimate of the painted mantella's weight is not available. Mantella frogs, in general, can weigh up to 2 oz (56 g).
There are no special names for the Mantella frog males and females.
Very young Mantellas would be called tadpoles. The young tadpoles then metamorphose into froglets and subsequently into adult frogs.
All Mantella frogs have a purely insectivorous diet. Their diet primarily consists of insects like ants, termites, and other arthropods such as spiders, beetles, and mites.
Painted mantellas are poisonous and secrete toxic alkaloid substances in their skin. Feeding on mites helps the frogs release the toxins.
If properly cared for, the colorful painted mantellas make excellent pets. In fact, they are quite popular in the live pet trade. Besides, when in captivity, the captive food makes these frogs lose their toxicity and can be safely kept as pets. Their diurnal lifestyle also makes things easier for the owner. However, considering that these frogs are vulnerable to becoming endangered, it would not be wise to house them as pets.
While a group of frogs is called an army, a group of toads is called a knot.
The golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) of the family Dendrobatidae is considered to be one of the most poisonous animals on Earth. The golden poison frogs are endemic to the Pacific coast of Colombia, South America.
French naturalist and explorer Alfred Grandidier first described the Malagasy mantella between 1866-1872.
When frogs swallow their meal, their bulging eyeballs close and sink into their head. The pressure applied by the eyeballs helps the frogs push the food down their throats.
While the Malagasy mantella bears resemblance to Baron's mantella (Mantella baroni), the golden mantellas have evolved to be very similar in behavior and appearance to the South American poison frogs. The golden mantella frogs are highly toxic as well.
Mantella frogs are endemic to the island of Madagascar, off the East African coast in the Indian Ocean.
While the colorful patterns on the painted mantella work wonders to ward off any predator, they may be preyed on by snakes, birds, and small mammals.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians from our cape rain frog facts and European green toad facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mantella coloring pages.
Main image by Charles J. Sharp.
Second image by Fice.
We've been unable to source an image of a painted mantella and have used an image of a Mantella baroni instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a painted mantella, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].
Read The Disclaimer
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.
Remember that you can always manage your preferences or unsubscribe through the link at the foot of each newsletter.