The habits, habitats, and appearance of these frogs are widely variable. Most species are terrestrial, though some are arboreal (the genus Boophis is morphologically similar to the tree frogs), or aquatic. Body size ranges from 3 to 10 cm in length. The genus Mantella has many similarities with the South American poison dart frogs. They are small, aposematically coloured, and secrete alkaloid toxins.
Some members of this group are kept in captivity as pet frogs.