Monday, September 9, 2013

Frogs: Mantella of Madagascar

The most beautiful of all frogs...

Insects and birds do not have the monopoly over vivid and beautiful colors in the animal world; there are multitudes of fish which rival them in splendor, but not many people know that the dim, dark world of frogs and toads can also produce a few highly colored members which deserve to join the 'beautiful species' club.

The mantella of Madagascar is one of these brilliantly colored creatures. These are small frogs typically reaching 0.79–1.2 inches, with iridescent colors with combinations of black, blue, orange, yellow, and green - which reflect the toxic nature of their skins. Several species in the genus are threatened because of habitat loss and over-collection for the international pet trade.  Anyway, this small frog, which is only naturally found in Madagascar, is one of the most attractive species of frogs in the world. 

There used to be a lot of gaps in our knowledge concerning the mantella's habits and way of life, especially when reproduction is concerned.  Many years ago, I read how some zoologist brought back a mantilla in a box with a wet sponge inside to keep the air damp enough for the small animal.  Upon opening the box he found to his surprise that there were eggs stuck to the sponge.  He kept the eggs carefully; they hatched and duly turned into tiny tadpoles which eventually changed into adult mantellas.  Since there was no male in the box at the time the eggs were laid, he concluded that this particular species copulated, and that fertilization was internal, in contrast to that of other frogs.

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---End of Post "Frogs: Mantella of Madagascar"

Additional Link: Are all amphibians poisonous to some degree?

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