Spinomantis elegans
family: Mantellidae
subfamily: Mantellinae

© 1994 Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw (1 of 4)

  hear Fonozoo call

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Near Threatened (NT)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Adults 50-60 mm. Tibiotarsal articulation reaches the nostril. Hand without webbing, foot webbing 1(0.5), 2i(1), 2e(1), 3i(2), 3e(1), 4i/e (2), 5(0.5). Dorsal skin smooth. Colour dorsally light brown with distinct rounded dark brown patches that are delimited by a white or yellow line. Males with distinct, prominent dark femoral glands; shape and size of vocal sac unknown. Similar species: Mainly S. brunae, which is smaller, and the arboreal S. peraccae.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Andohahela, Andohariana, Chaines Anosyennes, Andringitra (Cuvette Boby, Imaitso forest), Ivohibe, Maharira summit (Ranomafana). It occurs between 1,350-2,500m asl along rocky outcrops in forested zones and above tree line (Cadle and Raxworthy 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: A species restricted to high elevations, occurring among large boulders or in small caves above the tree-line or in rainforest above 1200 m elevation. At Andringitra, subadults can be found hidden under rocks at high elevations above the tree line. Males call from within caves and cavities during day and night. Very large blackish tadpoles develop in streams.

Calls: A very soft and inconspicuous sound for such a relatively large frog, reminding the dripping of water.

Breeding takes place in streams. It takes at least a year for the tadpoles to begin metamorphosis (Cadle and Raxworthy 2008).

Trends and Threats
Vulnerable: extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km2 and its area of occupancy is less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat. It occurs in Parc National de Ranomafana, Parc National d'Andringitra, Parc National d'Andohahela, and probably Parc National de Midongy du Sud (Cadle and Raxworthy 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Intensified agriculture or grazing

Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007).


Cadle, J. and Raxworthy, C. (2008). Spinomantis elegans. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 05 May 2009.

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

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 2000-11-27
Edited by Henry Zhu (2009-05-05)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Spinomantis elegans <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Aug 12, 2020.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 12 Aug 2020.

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