Mantellla baroni

Mantella baroni

The Painted Mantella
Baron’s Painted Mantella
Boulenger, 1888

Sometimes confused with Mantella madagascariensis, the Malagasy Painted Mantella, Mantella baroni, in my opinion, just may be the most flamboyant frog in the genus!  Picasso comes to mind when I see the abrupt, dramatic patterns and bold, seemingly block-printed colors on this frog.  Shiny, jet-black and screaming lime-green on the dorsum and forearms, and hind legs set ablaze in orange and black tiger-stripes!  Ventrally, it is black with various small splotches of electric blue.  There’s a final, cream-colored brush stroke streaking from just behind and above one eye across the snout to just above and beyond the other.  Brilliant!

M. baroni is one of the larger species of Mantella, reaching a size of about 1 ½” (approximately 30 mm), and as is the typical of the genus, females tend to be larger and fuller-bodied than the males.

Distribution and Habitat
Mantella baroni has a wide range throughout central and eastern Madagascar from Fierenana south to Andringitra at elevations from just under 2,000 ft to around 4,000 feet (or approximately 600-1200 m)[1].   It is associated with rainforest streams and rivers, beside which it deposits its eggs, and into which the hatched tadpoles are washed by rain or rising water levels.  Its habitats also include swamp forests, semi-arid streambeds, bamboo groves, and remarkably, highly disturbed areas such as those that have been slashed and burned.  This may speak to M. baroni’s adaptability and account for its current abundance.  Fortunes find further that M. baroni has many populations within protected territories.[2]  Would that this be the case with so many other endangered species.


[1] IUCN Red List of Endangered Species: http://www.iucnredlist.org

[2] Mantella:  Poison Frogs of Madagascar:  http://mantella.amphibiancare.com/species/mantella_baroni.html