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Mantella frog, living jewel
spp. (16 species)
Mantella frogs are tiny tree frogs and occur in color combinations of dark black and iridescent blues, oranges, yellows, and greens.
Up to 5 cm (2 in.)
Up to 56 g (2 oz.)
Diurnal predators, these frogs prey mainly on insects and often prey upon ants and termites
The egg-laying site is normally a moist and enclosed location like depressions in sponge or moss. Several males fertilize eggs either immediately following deposition or up to 2 days after. Incubation is 2-6 days.
The number of eggs laid varies with species and maturity of the female.
Tadpoles metamorphose after 45-360 days, depending on the species.
Ground-dwellers living in the forests
Mantella frogs are among the most brightly colored and showy of all frogs. These colors may act as a warning to predators, which is termed aposomatic coloration.
Most Mantellas have the same toxins found in the South American poison dart frogs. In fact, when explorers first saw mantella frogs they thought they were South American poison dart frogs, but they are only distant relatives.
Several species of Mantella frogs are non-poisonous, but exhibit protective mimicry. By exhibiting the bright colors of the toxic species, they are avoided by predators.
Since they often prey on ants and termites, mantella frogs are diurnal.
In general, frogs have smooth skin while toads have textured skin.
A group of frogs is called an 'army'; a group of toads is called a 'knot'.
Frogs with long tongues go by the "see it, snap at it" technique of feeding. Toads on the other hand have short tongues and have to snap at their food using their mouth.
When a frog swallows a meal, its bulgy eyeballs close and sink in to its head. The eyeballs apply pressure and actually push a frog's meal down its throat.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Like all amphibians, Mantella frogs have porous skin and respond quickly to changes in the environment. The health of their populations can be an indicator of the health of the environment.
Major threats include: habitat loss, resource exploitation, environmental contaminants, disease and parasitism, introduced species, and global climate change.
11 of the species are classified either commercially threatened, rare, or vulnerable. Only 1 species is not considered threatened. Some species are endemic to very small areas, making them sensitive to over-collection.
Conant, Roger, and J.T. Collins.
Peterson Field Guides: Reptiles and Amphibians
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958.
Flank, Lenny Jr.
. New York: Howell Book House, 1998.
Frogs and Toads of the World
. New York: Fact On File Publications, 1987.
CITES Watch. hsus.org/channel/citeswatch/an_mantella.html