This species occurs in northeastern Madagascar, where it has a relatively wide, but poorly understood, distribution. Specific records come from Andevoranto (a historical record), around Antongil Bay, Fizoana, Iaraka, Maroantsetra, Rantabe and Voloina (Glaw and Vences 2007). More recently, several additional localities around Maroantsetra in the north of its range (Chiari et al. 2006) and along the east coast (Tessa et al. 2007, Orozco-Terwengel et al. 2013) have been recorded. Other reported localities for this species, especially the southernmost ones, might in fact refer to Dyscophus guineti. It occurs from sea level up to 600 m Asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in primary rainforest, coastal forest, secondary vegetation, degraded scrub, and highly disturbed urban areas. It is a very adaptable species, but possible declines in Maroansetra indicate that there might be a limit to the extent that it can persist in urbanized habitats. It appears to be localized to sandy ground near the coast, and breeds in ditches, flooded areas, swamps, and temporary and permanent still or very slowly flowing water. The reproductive phenology in an urban pond has been studied by Segev et al. (2012). The colour of this species is influenced by their diet (Brenes-Soto and Dierenfeld 2014).
It is locally abundant, especially in and around Maroantsetra (the best known locality for this species). Surveys undertaken around Maroantsetra in 2006 suggested that the population there seemed to be declining (Andreone et al. 2006). In Ambatovaky, its population is stable and abundant.
Pollution of waterbodies is a potential threat, and in the past this species was subject to collection for international trade, although this is now largely under control and restricted.
This species occurs at the boundary of the Ambatovaky Special Reserve (but yet confirmed to be within this protected areas [Andreone et al. 2006]) and probably in Masoala National Park (the locality of Maroantsetra is located here [Andreone et al. 2006]).
The species is sometimes bred for commercial purposes outside Madagascar, and many specimens exchanged in the pet trade are captive bred. Captive breeding programmes and the CITES Appendix I status of this species have effectively halted commercial exploitation of it in Madagascar (if indeed this was ever a major threat). However, the species was moved to CITES Appendix II in 2016 and legal trade may be used as a conservation measure for the species. There is a well-managed captive breeding programme involving many US zoos, and it is now also kept in a zoo in Madagascar.
Habitat protection is required, and Andreone et al. (2006) recommends that some known "urban" subpopulations (such as the subpopulation within Maroantsetra) should be managed and protected. Any future trade needs to be well regulated.
Additionally survey work is needed over much of the species range. Further taxonomic work is also required to resolve confusion between this species and D. guineti.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification and its presumed large population.
The differences between this species and Dyscophus guineti are not clear. Studies suggest the possibility that this species may be a colour variant of the more widespread D. guineti (Andreone et al. 2006, Glaw and Vences 2007) or support the definition of these two taxa as different evolutionary significant units under the adaptive evolutionary conservation concept (Chiari et al. 2006). The most recent study by Orozco-ter Wengel et al. (2013) suggests a process of introgressive hybridization as the most likely explanation for the genetic pattern observed.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Dyscophus antongilii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T6937A84159360. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T6937A84159360.en .Downloaded on 23 January 2019