Black-eared mantella (Mantella milotympanum)

GenusMantella (1)
SizeLength: 15 – 18 mm (2)

The black-eared mantella is classified as Critically Endangered (CR B2ab(iii)) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

The smallest of all the mantella frogs, the black-eared mantella has a dark orange back, which is brighter in males, and a greenish yellow underside. As the name suggests, the ears are black, as are the areas around the nostrils. A black line runs from the eyes to the nostrils. The hind legs have raised veins. The eggs are very small (1 mm in diameter) and have a yellowish-brown centre (2).

The black-eared mantella is found in the Fihereana Valley in east Madagascar (2) between 900 and 1,000 m above sea level (1).

Inhabits gallery forest around large swamp areas and seasonally flooded forest (1).

The black-eared mantella is a shy frog that calls frequently, loudly and at length from under leaf litter. It is semi-nocturnal and eats insects. Breeding is seasonal, occurring just before the rains. The black-eared mantella lays tiny eggs on land in groups of around 20. If fertilised, they develop into tadpoles which are washed into swamps by rain (1) (2). Fertilisation may happen immediately after deposition, or up to two days later, by one or more males (2).

As for many Madagascan frogs, the threats to this species are serious and numerous. Having suffered massive over-collection for the pet trade in the past, the black-eared mantella is now threatened by habitat loss due to increasing subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, livestock grazing, fires, human settlement, and the spread of introduced eucalyptus species (1). Current studies are in act to provide a revised distribution map of the species. The abundance at some of these sites appears anyhow high enough to warrant the survivorship of the species (4).

For this species to persist, trade must be carefully regulated. The black-eared mantella is currently listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which bans trade without an export permit. It is not found in any protected habitat and deforestation is now the most serious threat (1).

For further information on this species see the IUCN Red List:

Authenticated (07/02/2005) by Franco Andreone, Chair of DAPT/IUCN Madagascar.

  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2004)
  2. The Mantella FAQ (December, 2004)
  3. CITES (December, 2004)
  4. Andreone, F. (2005) Pers. comm.