The smallest and most slender Rhombophryne species, calling males 16-17 mm, one gravid female 22 mm. Tympanum rather indistinct, about 2/5 of eye diameter. Tibiotarsal articulation reaches the eye. Skin on the back smooth to slightly granular. Colouration is quite variable: The back can be uniformly brown or with dark reticulations and yellowish spots. Flanks often with small white dots. One specimen was largely yellowish with a broad yellowish median stripe bordered by a dark line. Ventrally with distinct or indistinct dark reticulations (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Similar species: Could be confused with juveniles of other terrestrial microhylids, with Stumpffia species and even with small Gephyromantis species (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Occurs in Anjanaharibe, Marojejy, Tsaratanana (Glaw and Vences 2007) from sea level up to high altitudes (Vences and Andreone 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: This is a fossorial and terrestrial species of lowland and montane rainforest, which is not found in degraded areas. It is thought likely to breed by larval development, possibly underground, or in leaf axils or tree holes (Vences and Andreone 2008). Occurs at Marojejy in ericoid and lichen vegetation above the tree line or less commonly in montane forest. Calling males were found in the rainy season at night on low vegetation (up to 1 m height) (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Calls: Short melodious notes of high frequency which are rather irregularly repeated (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Trends and Threats
Species is listed as data deficient because of continuing doubts as to its taxonomic status, extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements (Vences and Andreone 2008).
A major threat is its receding forest habitat due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, invasive spread of eucalyptus, livestock grazing and expanding human settlements (Vences and Andreone 2008).
It occurs in the RÃ©serve Naturelle IntÃ©grale du Tsaratanana, Parc National de Marojejy, the RÃ©serve SpÃ©ciale de Nosy Mangabe, and the RÃ©serve de la BiosphÃ¨re du Sahamalaza-Iles Radama. Further research is required to resolve the taxonomic status of this species (Vences and Andreone 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) 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). Rhombophryne minuta. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 15 April 2009.
Originally submitted by: Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (first posted 2001-10-26)
Edited by: Catherine Aguilar (2010-07-19)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Rhombophryne minuta <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/2353> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 27, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 27 Mar 2023.
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