M 19.2-22.1 mm, F 22.1-25.6 mm. A small microhylid with a distinctive narrow head and small eyes. Back rather uniform greyish or brownish with a few black spots. Belly dirty white with distinct grey patches and vermiculations. Tympanum indistinct. Lateral metatarsalia connected. Inner metatarsal tubercle small, no outer metatarsal tubercle. Hand without webbing, foot completely webbed. Relative finger length 1<2<4<3, relative toe length 1<2<5<3<4. Males have a black pigmented single subgular vocal sac that is slightly distensible (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Similar species: Paradoxophyla tiarano is very similar but has much less webbing on the feet (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Located at Ambana, Ambatovaky, Andasibe, Ankeniheny, Ranomafana village, Ranomena (Ranomafana) (Glaw and Vences 2007) from near sea level up to 950 m asl (Cadle and Vences 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: Widely distributed in eastern rainforests but not regularly encountered. Most likely to be found by chance on the forest floor, or during reproduction by locating calling males which call at night from hidden positions on the ground next to stagnant water bodies in rainforest. Sometimes seen swimming at night in these pools, immediately diving when disturbed. Amplexus is axillary. 107-408 black eggs of 1 mm diameter are deposited which characteristically float on the water surface, partly emerging above the surface. Metamorphosing juveniles 8-9 mm SVL (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Calls: A cricket-like loud and short melodious trill (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Trends and Threats
This species is listed as least concern because, although it is seldom recorded, it has a relatively wide distribution, is tolerant of a degree of habitat modification, has a presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. Though it occurs in protected areas, its forest habitat is receding due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, and invasive spread of eucalyptus, livestock grazing and expanding human settlements (Cadle and Vences 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007) and Cadle and Vences (2008).
Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
Nussbaum, R. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantidactylus lugubris. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 08 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 2001-10-19
Edited by Catherine Aguilar (2010-07-18)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Paradoxophyla palmata <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/2070> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 18, 2019.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Jun 2019.
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