THE VARIEGATED MANTELLA GROUP
This group consist of some of the most beautiful of the mantellas and also some of the most confusing in terms of taxonomy.
1- Cowan's mantella (Mantella cowanii) :
22 - 30mm. Patterned largely in black with orange or red bands around the limbs. This species is much shyer athan the closely related M.baroni and rarely ventures from the preferred humid, leafy base of the vivarium apart from the odd bold male specimen in search of a female. Males are quite vocal , the call being reminiscent of a slower crickets chirrup. Breeding is quite a frequent occurrence in captivity with 40 or so eggs being nestled in damp leaves or moss. Temperature-wise it prefers slightly higher than that described for the golden mantella although it is quite tolerant of low temperatures as long as there is sufficient cover.
Mantella cowani near Antoetra, Madagascar
A Better Mantella Cowani Video
First Captive Bred Mantella Cowani Video
28 - 32mm. Extremely variable in range and behaviour occurring over much of the eastern half of Madagascar. Coloration ranges from a general black dorsum with vibrant yellows, greens and oranges to almost completely melanistic specimens. The distinguishing feature is the light rostral line above the eyes and the tiger-like markings on the hind limbs. It is the largest species after the green mantella. Requires a roomy vivarium with plenty of elevated areas which the energetic males will guard. Many specimens imported as M.cowanii are in fact this species. Occurs at altitude and in the lowlands so it may be worth experimenting with temperatures and set-up if a specimen reacts indifferently or refuses to breed. The skin of this species is known to contain alkaloid derivatives similar to those of the neotropic poison dart frogs and therefore the coloration is said to be aposematic. Always handle with care where necessary.
20 - 25mm. Confusion reigns with this species as most were imported as Mantella cowanii before 1994. It is easy to distinguish because its dorsum (particularly is head) possesses a silvery brown sheen. The flanks nearly always have lime green or blue patches. It is a plump but extremely agile species and is certainly the most nervy mantella although it often searches for food in open daylight and males are quite bold when excited. I have found that it thrives in conditions similar to the golden mantella although it is more tolerant of warm temperatures. Breeding is rather infrequent mainly because females are not easily coaxed into producing eggs.
3- Haraldmeier's mantella (Mantella haraldmeieri)
21 - 29mm Discovered in 1981 in the extreme south-east of the Madagascar and is rarely imported into the hobby probably due to the lack of demand. Distinguished from the very similar M.pulchra by the heart-shaped marking on the brownish dorsum. The front limbs also tend to be a whitish-green and the hind-limbs a dull orange. It produces relatively large clutches of 60 or more yellowish-white eggs.
4- Bernhard's mantella (Mantella bernhardi) :
To 21mm (smaller in males). I have to confess that the behaviour of this very rare species in captivity has made it a great favourite of mine. All the specimens I have acquired have been in extremely poor condition yet after a bit of gentle care they have responded magnificently. The male is by far the most boisterous of the mantellas and possesses a good vocal sac which he is proud to exhibit given any opportunity. It even attempts to mate with my finger or a pair of forceps! The general colour is black apart from the inside of the limbs which are a dazzling yellow. The skin is known to be extremely toxic hence is boldness. It demands warm, humid conditions and prefers fruitfly or aphids to most other foods. Males are also distinguished by the horseshoe- shaped throat markings which extends further than the female. It dislikes enclosed spaces so unlike some species will not survive long being couped up in a margarine tub or similar container. Unfortunately it is unlikely to be available in captivity for much longer due to its precarious position in the wild.
Mantella bernhardi courtship
Bernhard's Mantella, bernhardi frog
Madagascar Dart frogs
South America Dart Frogs - Species
These species not mentioned in the main source from Marc S Staniszewski article :
1- Mantella ebenaui
Mantella ebenaui is a species of frog in the Mantellidae family. It is endemic to Madagascar. Its natural habitats are rainforest and dry forests.
Group of Mantella ebenaui courting
Mantella ebenaui froglets and adults
2- Mantella nigricans
The Guibé's Mantella
The Guibé's Mantella (Mantella nigricans) is a species of frog in the Mantellidae family. It is endemic to Madagascar. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.
Madagascar Dart frogs :
Madagascar Dart frogs :