Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Adults 22-29 mm. Head, dorsum and flanks deep black. Rostral and frenal stripes absent. Proximal part of femur and humerus generally red (exceptionally orange or yellow). This colour extending onto the flanks as small flank blotches, and is also present as a broad band on tarsus and foot (sometimes disrupted by black markings). A light spot below the eye sometimes present. No flashmarks. Iris without light pigment. Ventral side black with circular whitish-blue markings. Single markings on throat, but no horseshoe marking. Broad red bands on tibia, tarsus and foot which correspond to those on the dorsal surface. Colour morphs intermediate between baroni and cowani occur, probably due to hybridization.

Similar species: None, but hybrids with M. baroni occur.

Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007).

  • Andreone, F. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantella cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
  • Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs on the high plateau of east-central Madagascar from Antakasina, Antoetra, and Itremo with old records to the west that require further investigation. Andreone et al. (2006) located two main population nuclei: the first around Antoetra region, and the second in the Tsinjoarivo area, at about 200 km from Antoetra. It occurs at 1,000-2,000m asl. There is conflicting information on its distribution based on (often very unreliable) hearsay reports from commercial collectors. The Farimazava population next to Antoetra might no longer survive.
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Distribution and Habitat

Ambatodradama, Antoetra, Antratrabe, Betafo, Farihimazava, Itremo, Soamazaka, near Tsinjoarivo, Vatolampy, Vohisokina. It occurs between 1,000m-2,000m asl in tiny strips of vegetation along streams and nearby montane grassland savannah and humid stone walls. It inhabits underground cavities during the dry season, and it can hide in these during fires (Andreone and Vences 2008).

  • Andreone, F. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantella cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
  • Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is a terrestrial species, living in tiny strips of vegetation along streams and nearby montane grassland savannah and humid stone walls. It lives in underground cavities during the dry season, and it can hide in these during fires. It presumably breeds like other mantellas, with the eggs laid on the ground, and the larvae developing in streams. So far, there are no data are on tadpole morphology.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2acd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Franco Andreone, Miguel Vences

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Critically Endangered because its Area of Occupancy is probably less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and the extent of its habitat is probably declining; and also because of a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last three generations (estimated at 15 years), inferred from observed shrinkage in distribution and declines in the number of mature individuals, anecdotal information on habitat destruction and/or degradation, and from levels of exploitation inferred from the numbers of animals in international trade.
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Population

Population
It was formerly reported as being common, but a drastic population decline occurred recently, as deduced from a dramatic reduction in its distribution and in the number of mature adults (Andreone and Randrianirina 2003).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Habits: A terrestrial frog, living in gallery forest along streams, moving into nearby montane grassland savannah in the rains. Threatened by deforestation and (in the 1990s) over-exploitation for the international pet trade.

Calls: Series of short single-click notes.

Breeding takes place in streams, and eggs are laid on the ground (Andreone and Vences 2008).

  • Andreone, F. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantella cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
  • Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
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Threats

Major Threats
The fact that the observed decline in this species followed a period of increased exploitation for the international pet trade suggests that populations were over-collected, resulting in a population reduction. Andreone et al. (2006) note that collectors used to collect 2,000 individuals a day, but in 2003 only 100-150 animals per day were collected by an entire village. The species also occurs in a region that has largely been deforested, and the remaining forest fragments are being lost due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction and charcoal production, fires, and expanding human settlements. However, the species appears able to adapt to open areas, and usually does not penetrate within forests. The Farimazava population next to Antoetra has hybridized with Mantella baroni and might no longer be distinct.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Critically Endangered: area of occupancy is probably less than 10km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and the extent of its habitat is probably declining; and also because of a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last three generations (estimated at 15 years), inferred from observed shrinkage in distribution and declines in the number of mature individuals, anecdotal information on habitat destruction and/or degradation, and from levels of exploitation inferred from the numbers of animals in international trade. It is not known from any protected areas, making protection of the remaining habitat of this species a top priority. A moratorium on the export of Mantella cowani was implemented in 2003 (through the application of a zero export quota on any Appendix II species until populations recover) (Andreone and Vences 2008).

  • Andreone, F. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantella cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
  • Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is not known from any protected areas, making protection of the remaining habitat of this species a top priority. A moratorium on the export of Mantella cowani was implemented in 2003 (through the application of a zero export quota on any CITES Appendix II species until populations recover).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Relation to Humans

International pet trade has resulted in a dramatic population decline.

  • Andreone, F. and Vences, M. (2008). Mantella cowanii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
  • Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
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Wikipedia

Cowan's mantella

The Cowan's Mantella (Mantella cowanii) is a species of frog in the Mantellidae family. It is endemic to Madagascar. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.

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