Mantidactylus cowanii

Subgenus: Hylobatrachus
family: Mantellidae
subfamily: Mantellinae
Species Description: Glaw F, Vences M 2006 Phylogeny and genus-level classification of mantellid frogs (Amphibia, Anura). Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 6:236-253

© 2011 Devin Edmonds (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Near Threatened (NT)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



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Larger than all other species in this subgenus. Typically M. cowanii has a largely black dorsal colouration with white spots, and a smooth skin (Glaw and Vences 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Ambohitantely, Antoetra, Mantadia (Glaw and Vences 2007). It may occur more widely (Vences and Andreone 2008). This species is found by clear rocky streams in rainforest, secondary forest, and open areas next to forest, as well as in more open savannah on Madagascar's high plateau (Vences and Andreone 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: This species is most typically found under larger cascades or in very rapidly running waters. The specimens sit on larger stones next to the water and are relatively shy. Usually only a single or a few specimens are found, indicating that this species is not very common where it occurs. Sometimes found in syntopy with M. lugubris; these species are then usually more common, and found along most of the stream (Glaw and Vences 2007). Usually found associated with larger waterfalls than those preferred by M. lugubris (Vences and Andreone 2008).

Trends and Threats
Rare and decreasing. Although this species has a relatively wide distribution, it depends on streams and waterfalls, and so has a small area of occupancy. It is somewhat adaptable, but cannot tolerate extreme deforestation or less than clear water. It occurs in two protected areas: Mantadia National Park and the Ambohitantely Special Reserve. Further work is needed to determine the geographic range, ecological requirements and conservation needs of this species (Vences and Andreone 2008).

Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007) and Vences and Andreone (2008).


Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.

Vences, M. and Andreone, F. (2008). Mantidactylus cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 08 April 2009.

Written by Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (m.vences AT, 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 2009-04-08
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2009-04-08)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Mantidactylus cowanii <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 11, 2020.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 Jul 2020.

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