41-56 mm. Tympanum indistinct. Tibiotarsal articulation reaches insertion of forelimb. Tips of fingers and toes very slightly enlarged. Skin of smooth appearance but with several large granules. A quite characteristic pattern of green and brown vermiculations or patches. Specimens from Andringitra have a different colour pattern and a smoother skin but are genetically similar. Venter marbled with black (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Similar species: Other green-coloured Scaphiophryne, especially S. boribory and S. marmorata can have a similar general appearance but can easily be distinguished by their enlarged discs on the tips of fingers and toes (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Occurs in Ambalamarina, Ambalamarovandana, Ambatolampy, Andohariana plateau, Ankaratra, Itremo, Manjakatompo (Glaw and Vences 2007) from 1300-2000m asl (Raxworthy and Vences 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: Found in high-altitude areas, both in forest and above the tree line. Reproduces in larger temporary or permanent ponds, males forming loud choruses. A large number of small black eggs are laid and form a surface film on the water. They hatch after less than three days. In the dry season specimens have been found burrowed 40-50 cm deep in dried swamp areas, in circular holes of 8-10 cm diameter (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Calls: A long lasting fast series of very short melodious notes, similar to other species of Scaphiophryne (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Trends and Threats
This species is listed as near threatened because its extent of occurrence is probably not much greater than 20,000 km2, and its breeding habitat is probably in decline, thus making the species close to qualifying for vulnerable (Raxworthy and Vences 2008). Though it occurs in a protected area (Parc National d’Andringitra), the major threat to this species is considered to be the loss of suitable breeding habitats to agricultural activities, even though this is an adaptable species (Raxworthy and Vences 2008). Introduction of predatory fish into pools is also a significant threat (Raxworthy and Vences 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
Predators (natural or introduced)
Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007) and Raxworthy 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.
Raxworthy, C. and Vences, M. (2008). Scaphiophryne madagascariensis In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 08 April 2009.
Originally submitted by: Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (first posted 2009-04-08)
Edited by: Catherine Aguilar (2010-07-19)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Scaphiophryne madagascariensis <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/2075> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 28, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 28 Mar 2023.
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