General body shape rather stout, 21-25 mm (M 22-23 mm). Dorsum and flanks dark brown to black. On the upper head surface, the dark colour of the dorsum gradually fading into light brown. Dorsolateral colour border present; indistinct in the inguinal region, but very distinct in the head and shoulder region. Hand, fibula, foot, tarsus and tibia light brown, with few dark brown crossbands. Humerus and femur yellow to green, in some specimens (locality unknown) blue. This colour extending as relatively large flank blotches onto the flanks. Flank blotches delimited by the dorsolateral colouration border and not extending onto the dorsum. Bright red flash marks present. Iris with light pigment in its upper part. Venter, throat, forelimbs and femur dark brown to black with small, generally regularly rounded whitish-blue spots and a distinct horseshoe marking, which in males can cover nearly the complete throat. Tibia with a distinct orange marking, sometimes continued on the knee, distal part of femur and foot. In preservative, this colouration changes, becoming partly bright red and partly white, with a sharp border between both colouration. A similar but less distinct change is also observed in specimens of M. madagascariensis.
Similar species: M. madagascariensis.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Ambavala, An’Ala, Andekaleka, Antsihanaka, Fierenana, Folohy. It occurs between
300-950m asl in swampy rainforest (Raxworthy and Glaw 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: Along rainforest streams and associated swamps. Active during the day on the ground.
Calls: Short chirps, arranged in less regular series.
Breeding takes place in swamps in forest (Raxworthy and Glaw 2008).
Trends and Threats
Vulnerable: extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in northeastern Madagascar. It occurs in the Reserve De Biosphere De Mananara Nord and the Réserve Spéciale d' Ambatovaky. There is a need for careful regulation of the trade in this species (Raxworthy and Glaw 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)
Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007).
Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
Raxworthy, C. and Glaw, F. (2008). Mantella pulchra. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
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 2000-12-13
Edited by Henry Zhu (2009-05-06)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Mantella pulchra <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/4568> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 12, 2018.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 12 Dec 2018.
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