Green Mantella Frog

ORDER: Anura

FAMILY: Mantellidae

GENUS: Mantella

SPECIES: viridis

A large and robust frog that can reach 30 mm (1.2 inches). They are largely green, although some individuals appear more yellow in color. A black mask wraps around the face with a white band around the top lip. The underside is black with blue speckles. Females tend to be larger, more plump and have a more square snout.

Restricted to extreme northern Madagascar and is most well-known from Montagne des Franšais. They inhabit dry lowland forest, especially around streambeds. It is found at elevations of 50 - 300 m above sea level.

Omnivorous. Small insects like ants and fruit flies; also eats soft fallen fruits.

Diurnal. Life span 5 to 10 years. Males attract females by calling out very short notes that are composed of two even shorter clicks. Between 15 and 60 greenish-yellow eggs are laid in cavities under rocks and in the trunks of dead trees. They hatch into tadpoles during heavy rainfall, which washes them into small pools of water where they eat algae. The tadpoles grow to a size of 28 millimeters and undergo metamorphosis after 45 - 65 days to take the adult form.

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.

Many mantella species (but not the Golden Mantella) secrete toxins like those found in South America's poison frogs. They get alkaloid toxins from the prey that they eat, primarily ants, termites, and fruit flies. They then use these toxins for their own chemical defense. While not deadly they secrete enough toxins to make a predator sick or, at the very least, they can make themselves taste quite bad!

The Green Mantella Frog can be found in the RAD Room in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo.

Critically endangered due to habitat loss and over-collection for the pet trade. Listed as Endangered by IUCN.


  2. Andreone, Franco, V. Mercurio, F Mattioli, and T J. Razafindrabe. 2005. "Good News for Three Critically Endangered and Traded Frogs From Madagascar." FROGLOG 72.
  3. Rabemananjara, F. C. E., A. Crottini, Y. Chiari, F. Andreone, F. Glaw, R. Duguet, P. Bora, O. Ravoahangimalala Ramilijaona & M. Vences. 2007. Molecular systematics of Malagasy poison frogs in the Mantella betsileo and M. laevigata species groups. Zootaxa 1501: 31-44.
  4. Vences, M., F. Glaw & W. B÷hme. 1999. A review of the genus Mantella (Anura, Ranidae, Mantellinae): taxonomy, distribution and conservation of Malagasy poison frogs. Alytes 17 (1-2): 3-72. fw:10