Golden Mantella Frog
All mantellas are small and slender, with short legs and unwebbed toes. Golden Mantellas are one half to one inch in length and come in golden yellow (sometimes with red marks on the inner legs), bright orange, or ruby red. Color of males tends to be darker and a little more intense than that of females. Males are somewhat smaller and less heavy bodied than females. They have horizontal pupils in entirely black eyes.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Tropical rain forests of southeastern Madagascar, near shallow pools and ponds.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Diurnal. Social, congregating in small groups or even large colonies near ponds. In the cool/dry season, which lasts from May to September, the frogs undergo a resting period. They remain hidden under dead leaves and may even be partially buried to protect themselves from the dry environment. When the rainy season starts, they breed. Males establish a territory and call to females with a soft chirping noise which sounds like "teek-teek-teek". Clutches of 20 to 60 eggs are laid under dead leaves or logs. Subsequent rain washes the eggs into a pond. Tadpoles hatch 24 to 72 hours after the eggs are deposited in the water and mature in five to eight weeks.
All frogs require water, but they do not obtain it by drinking. Their permeable skin allows them to absorb water cutaneously. An amphibian's ability to change color depends on many factors such as light, temperature, humidity, season, diet, and mood.
At one time these frogs were thought to be very poisonous, but research has shown that the brilliant color is not to warn of being poisonous, but to mimic the poisonous ones and thus deter predators.
STATUS IN WILD:
Critically endangered due to habitat loss and over-collection for the pet trade.