Mantella cowanii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Mantella cowanii
Species Authority: Boulenger, 1882
Common Name(s):
English Cowan's Mantella, Cowan's Golden Frog, Black Golden Frog

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Andreone, F. & Vences, M.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S. & Cox, N.A.
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.

Geographic Range [top]

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.
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: International trade in this species is regulated by CITES and related national export quotas (Andreone et al. 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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).

Citation: Andreone, F. & Vences, M. 2008. Mantella cowanii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 October 2014.
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