Endemic to the southwestern side of Madagascar
Small, temporary streams and small pools
These beautiful frogs have a greenish-yellow back contrasting with dark blue hind legs and black side. The males are a little smaller than females and have an obvious horseshoe-shaped blue spot on the lower throat. Both sexes have a light stripe along the upper lip. Colors can vary between individuals.
Although not related to the poison dart frogs of South America, this frog also possesses poison in its skin. Its bright colors serve as a warning to predators that it is poisonous. The toxins come from the prey that it eats.
The rains from October to December stimulate egg-laying. The males call continuously to attract females. If another male mantella wanders into guarded territory, the owner wrestles with him and pushes him back out.
The females emerge from their refuges to lay two to six clutches of over 35 eggs. The male frogs than guard the eggs until they hatch. The tadpoles hatch a few days later. The rain washes the young into pools nearby. Here they eat algae. Within six to eight weeks they have changed from tadpoles to froglets about the size of dime and weighing about as much as a small paperclip.
Unlike their parents, the froglets change from a blackish color to their adult colors over the next few months.
The blue-legged mantella is critically endangered. This is due to habitat loss as a result of grazing, fires and sapphire mining, as well as, collection for the pet trade
What can you do to save frogs? If you’re buying them as pets, it’s important to find out where they came from. Make sure you get your frogs from a trusted captive breeding source and avoid buying frogs caught in the wild.