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#Natureology Species of the Day – Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca)

January 10, 2013

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Golden frog (Mantella aurantiaca) is a small poisonous frog which is bright yellow, orange or red with some red colouration on the upper surface of the hind legs.

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Biology

Golden frog  is active during the day  and lives in groups usually consisting of twice as many males as females . It is an insectivorous species, feeding on termites, fruit flies, ants and a huge range of other insects. Its has a very restricted distribution in east-central Madagascar. It has a extremely localized distribution, being very abundant in tiny areas, often of just a few hectares. It is a terrestrial species of found in rainforest only, inhabiting Pandanus forests, where it is found in sunny areas, the golden frog tends to occur amongst vegetation in swampy sites. The eggs are laid on the ground, and the larvae are flushed by rain into swamps, temporary ponds, and flooded forest, where they develop further.

 

Threats

Golden frog is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List  and is listed on Appendix II of CITES.  The endangered frog is very popular in the pet-trade and over-collection of individuals is still carried out at some areas. Although at present there are no signs of reduction of population size due to this take off, it must be carefully monitored in the future to assure the survivorship of the species . However, the remaining habitat for the species is now severely fragmented. Furthermore, large-scale deforestation, predation by introduced species, and encroachment by humans are all posing threats to the golden frog.

 

Conservation

Limits on exportation of animals have been imposed, and the trade has been greatly reduced. Plans to implement a controlled, sustainable trade through a trade quota should be encouraged, and would help ensure the survival of its habitat, as well as probably being more effective than complete trade bans. This species is being maintained in captivity by about 35 zoos and other institutions and is being bred in captivity by public institutions and many private individuals. It does not occur in protected areas, but it is found near to the Réserve Spéciale d’Analamazaotra. The species was recently recorded from a cluster of unprotected forest localities to the south of Moramanga. These forests are under severe pressure and should be considered as conservation priorities for protection.

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