M 23-33 mm. A treefrog of very variable colouration. Tibiotarsal articulation reaches at least the eye, sometimes beyond snout tip. Hand with some webbing, foot webbing 1(0.5), 2i(1), 2e(0), 3i(1), 3e(0.5), 4i/e(1.5), 5(0.5). Dorsal skin smooth. Specimens from the type locality An’Ala can be almost uniformly greyish brown with a few indistinct darker markings, or with a very contrasted beige-brown pattern of contrasted markings, with all intermediate patterns and often with a distinct dark hourglass marking on the back. Fingers, toes and webbing at least partly red, this red colour being especially extended and colourful in specimens that have also a strongly contrasted dorsal pattern. Iris with a turquoise outer iris area and a turquoise-blue iris periphery. Specimens from south-eastern Madagascar (e.g., the Ranomafana area) have a more yellowish brown iris colour, often a less colourful and less contrasted dorsal pattern, and sometimes a light vertebral stripe. Males have a moderately distensible single subgular vocal sac (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Similar species: All other species of the B. majori group. The large colour variability of B. picturatus makes its diagnosis difficult, although the most colourful specimens are very easily identified. B. picturatus is usually larger than several other species, e.g., B. marojezensis and B. majori. At least in central eastern Madagascar, its turquoise outer iris area is also a good character to identify individuals in the field (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
An’Ala, Andasibe, Ranomafana (Maharira forest, Vohiparara), Vevembe (Glaw and Vences 2007). Observed between 850-1000m asl. This species lives in rainforest and breeds in slow-flowing brooks (Andreone et al. 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Found along smaller streams in rainforest, where calling males at night often sit on rather low perches of 1.5 m, but sometimes also up to 3 m on leaves in the vegetation. This species has a highly specialized tadpole which seems to be adapted to sand surfaces on the bottom of streams, and therefore the species is usually found along relatively slow-moving streams with at least partly sandy bottoms (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Calls: A single unharmonious note or a relatively slow series of up to eight such notes (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Trends and Threats
It occurs within several protected areas: the Réserve Spéciale d’Analamazaotra, Ranomafana National Park, and Midongy-du-Sud National Park. It is common where suitable habitat exists. However, it does not occur within secondary forest, and its rainforest habitat is being increasingly lost to subsistence agriculture, logging, charcoal manufacture, the spread of non-native eucalyptus, increased grazing and expanding human settlement (Andreone et al. 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007).
Andreone, F., Vences, M., Glaw, F., and Vallan, D. (2008). Boophis picturatus. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 15 March 2009.
Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
Written by Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (m.vences AT tu-bs.de), Assistant Professor and Curator of Vertebrates at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Zoological Museum at the University of Amsterdam
First submitted 2009-03-04
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2009-04-08)
Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on
amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2013. Berkeley, California:
(Accessed: May 23, 2013).
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.