Skip to content

Madagascar Frog

Mantidactylus pauliani


The Critically Endangered Madagascar frog was described in 1974, but was not recorded again for over 40 years until 2010.

Mantidactylus pauliani is a micro-endemic frog, that lives and breeds in high-altitude streams in the Ankaratra Massif, central Madagascar. Individuals have been found basking during the day on large rocks under a cascade, diving immediately into the water when approached.

The Mantellid frogs diverged from all other amphibian lineages around 65 million years ago, which makes them as distantly related to other frogs as humans are to tarsiers! This species is one of the most threatened amphibians in Madagascar as it lives in a severely degraded habitat that is constantly under threat from annual fires. Moreover, the species is at risk due to illegal logging, expanding agriculture and overgrazing by livestock and charcoal production. All these activities have caused heavy soil erosion and sedimentation which have been responsible for the pollution and siltation of its breeding sites. This species might be threatened also by the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) across the Ankaratra Massif.

Due to its isolated and restricted distribution at the mountain top, this species is at risk from climate change. Encouragingly, the habitat is now part of the Ankarana Massif Reserve established by the Madagascan conservation organization. The reserve is managed through forest guard units assembled with collaboration with local communities. Local communities are engaged in reforestation efforts intended to improve habitat within the reserve and the amphibian populations on the Massif are subject to ongoing monitoring.

  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Mantellidae
  • Population: Rare
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 24-34mm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.94 (?)
ED Score: 22.86 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found from a single area within 443 metres of the highest summit of the Ankaratra Massif in central Madagascar at 2,643 metres above sea level. It has also been recorded from three additional sites east of the summit between 2,000-2,285 m above sea level. However, its area of occupancy is believed to be less than 10 km².

Habitat and Ecology

This species is an aquatic frog with its habitat being fast-flowing mountain streams with individuals living and breeding in the fast-flowing streams. They have a maximum longevity of eight years. The Ankaratra Massif is described to harbour residual threatened rainforest fragments, high-altitude savannah and heathland.

Find out more

Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Habitat change Crops Livestock Fire Disease Agriculture

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Download the survival blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The survival blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here. 

Vision (30-50 years)

Effective long-term conservation of habitats and populations of Mantidactylus pauliani within Manjakatompo Ankaratra Protected Area

Goal (5-10 years)

Promote population recovery of Mantidactylus pauliani by empowering local communities to effectively conduct conservations actions and by supporting them through the development of alternative livelihoods.


Promote population recovery of Mantidactylus pauliani from conservation efforts (improvement of habitat quality) Critical
Develop capacity of local associations/communities to enhance their skills in forest restoration and plant nursery management High
Promote income generating activities for poverty reduction (beekeeping, fish-farming and potato farming) High

Sylviane Rakotozafy

  • Project name: Distribution, abundance and gene flow of Mantidactylus pauliani in Ankaratra Special Reserve
  • Project site: Ankaratra massif, Madagascar
  • Active: 2017 - 2019
Find out more