TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Mantellidae

Genus/species: Mantella aurantiaca

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color may be yellow, orange or gold. Eyes are black. Juveniles are black and green. Length to 3 cm (1.25 in).

GOLDEN MANTELLA TREE FROG P1060198

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic and very limited in west-central Madagascar. Found on sunny patches in the high montane rainforest (900 meters or 2950 feet)). Entirely terrestrial. Diurnally active.

DIET IN THE WILD: M. aurantiaca are entirely insectivorous. A diet commonly consists of termites (Isoptera), ants (Formicidae), fruitflies (Drosphila), and just about any other arthropod that can be fit into the mouth. Golden mantellas are known for attempting to eat anything, even if the taste is repulsive

PREDATORS: M. aurantiacas aposematic coloration, advertises the toxicity of skin secretions that protect it from most predators.

REPRODUCTION: Lays eggs on leaf litter during the rainy season. Egg mass requires high humidity, warmth and no direct sunlight, but not immersion. At about 10 days larvae have absorbed much of their yolk sac, the jelly surrounding the eggs liquefies and forms a communal pool for the clutch. A few days later tadpoles are washed into small pools by rain.

LIFE SPAN: About 8 years

Golden Mantella Frog9130971576_83b4631fe8_k

 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered   CITES Appendix II.
Though abundant in small areas, their distribution is extremely fragmented and limited to just a few hectares surrounded by land degraded by agriculture, timber extraction, fire, and expanding development. The pet trade until recently posed a threat to the wild population, but export has been successfully limited. The species is also being maintained and bred in captivity by some 35 zoos, aquaria, and other institutions.

REMARKS: Members of the genus Mantella have evolved to be very similar in appearance and behavior to the very distantly related poison arrow frogs of South America (family Dendrobatidae). Several species of each group are on display in the Rainforest.

Color of Life Note,  Color communicates anti-predator adaptations.: Animals with bright distinctive colors can be a warning to predators as a warning of toxicity. In the case of the Golden Mantella toxic skin secretions are an example of aposematism.
Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life Exhibit 2015

Madagascar Rainforest MA14

References

 Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Mantella_aurantiaca/

 ARKive  www.arkive.org/golden-frog/mantella-aurantiaca/

 California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014.

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/

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