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Species of the Week
Mantella laevigata | Malagasy Climbing Mantella

Amphibian News Archive
Parenting is an uncommon strategy among amphibians to raise offspring, and rarely takes the form of intense care compared to other vertebrates. For example, when species diversified and gained new niches to avoid competition for the same resources, maternal provisioning provides evolutionary benefits to surpass the cost of reduced access to nutrients. Fischer et al. 2019 demonstrated that in addition to supplying nutrients to offspring living in small isolated pools of water, maternal provisioning of unfertilized eggs is a way of passing along chemical defenses in some aposematic and poisonous frogs species. This mechanism of toxin transfer convergently evolved in two distant clades of frogs living in the antipodes, the Malagasy Climbing Mantella (Mantella laevigata) and the Ecuadorian Little Devil Poison Frog (Oophaga sylvatica), which diverged roughly 140 million years ago. Further, they showed that the neuronal basis of their maternal behavior relies on similar brain region activities but with distinct activation patterns, suggesting an evolutionary versatility in the molecular mechanisms sustaining maternal provisioning.

Current number of amphibian species: 8,114 (Jan 25, 2020) Newly added species