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Beautiful Mantella
Pulchra01
Physical description
Binomial nameMantella pulchra
HabitatTropical rainforest
Lifespan5-8 years
Average Size2.2 cm (0.8 in)
Average weight1 gram
DietInsectivorous
Conservational Status
StatusVulnerable
IUCN status3.1
Scientific classification
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAmphibia
OrderAnura
FamilyMantellidae
GenusMantella
SpeciesM. pulchra
Distribution
Distribution of speciesNortheastern Madagascar

The Beautiful Mantella, Mantella pulchra, is a species of Mantella native to northeastern Madagascar. It is a moderately toxic species, is brightly coloured and is an average-sized Mantella. It is considered to be the sister taxon of M. baroni.

Poison Edit

The Beautiful Mantella, as with many of the other mantellas, secretes pumiliotoxins through its permeable skin. Although it is not as toxic as some of the other Mantellas, it is significantly toxic enough to discourage predation. Touching a Beautiful Mantella can cause painful cramps; if a Beautiful Mantella is eaten the poison can cause temporary local paralysis. Any animal that has eaten a Mantella and survived soon learns to associate the bright coloration of the frog with their unpleasant experience and learn to avoid mantellids.

Unlike M. baroni and M. aurantiaca, Mantella pulchra cannot convert its pumiliotoxins into allopumiliotoxins

Description Edit

Mantella pulchra is an average-sized Mantella. Male specimens reach 2.0 centimetres in length from snout to vent; the females are only slightly larger, reaching 2.2 centimetres long. There is some overlap in size between the sexes, and size is usually not a consistent means of sexing. Females are often noticeably bulkier than males, and have a higher back arch, which is a somewhat more reliable means of sexing. However, M. pulchra is still one of the more difficult Mantellas to sex.

Pulchra02

Captive male specimen.

The Beautiful Mantella is primarily black or dark brown. The dorsum and head are entirely black, while the flanks bear mint or metallic green splotches. The hind legs also possess orange markings to advertise the frogs' toxicity. The belly is primarily black, speckled with green or yellow. In terms of colouration, there is little difference between Mantella pulchra and the similar, closely related M. baroni.

Mantella pulchra differs from M. baroni in that it is smaller and more slender, and it is more predominantly black. The only other differences are the fact that M. pulchra cannot convert its pumiliotoxins into allopumiliotoxins, and the locality of the two species.

Reproduction Edit

Pulchra03

Wild specimen.

Mantella pulchra has a similar reproductive cycle to most other Mantellas. At the beginning of the rainy season, gatherings of M. pulchra gather around suitable breeding sites. As the rain starts falling, males begin to call to females with a sound that has been described as like pebbles clicking together. Males will wrestle in order to clear breeding spaces, but injuries rarely result from such conflicts. Larger and more powerful males are more popular among females, and females may grapple to mate with a single male. Once a pair has joined, the male leads the female to a vertical surface such as a tree trunk or a boulder. The female lays her eggs on the vertical surface, and the male then fertilizes them. They are then guarded by the male, who will protect the eggs and moisten them with his own urine. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles form a tight ball around the waist of their father, who carries them to a puddle on the forest floor and guards them until their development is complete. The froglets are then led by the male to an existing group.

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