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Old 09-18-2019, 12:15 PM
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Johanovich Johanovich is offline
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Default Mantella baroni introgression? Very picture heavy!

Hi everyone,

I've got a small group Mantella baroni, which currently consists of three captive bred individuals (out of water May 2018) and two wildcaught ones. I know for certain that one of the CB ones is a male, as well as one of the WC ones. I suspect that another CB is male and that the remaining two individuals are females. I had another WC male, but this one died earlier (from stress induced from treatment for subdermal mites).

I noticed in both the WC and CB ones that there are some inconsistencies regarding baroni characteristics. I've listed below the characteristics for baroni and madagascariensis, and have highlighted the key differences between them.

Mantella baroni:
-SVL 22-30 mm
-Head, dorsum, and flanks are solid black
-A yellowish rostral stripe is present, generally ending past the eye but not connecting to the flank blotches
-Front limbs are yellow to greenish, this colour extending as large flank blotches
-Hindlimbs are orange with irregular black stripes
-There are no flashmarks on the lower hindlimbs
-Ventral side is black and marked with yellow to greenish, rarely blue blotches
-Ventrally the orange color of the legs does not extend onto the femur
-Throat has one circular marking, but may be all black
-The iris is black

Mantella madagascariensis:
-SVL 20-27 mm
-Upper head surface, dorsum and flanks usually blackish
-Yellowish rostral stripe present, often in contact with flank blotch
-Front limbs are yellow to green, this colour extending as large flank blotches
-Hindlimbs orange, with or without blackish crossbands and marblings
-Distinct orange flashmarks present on lower hindlimbs (this often turns yellow in CB individuals)
-Ventral side is black with light markings (mostly whitish-blue, sometimes yellow to green). These being generally rather large, rounded, and situated posteriorly on the venter.
-Ventrally the orange color of the legs extends well into femur, sometimes with black and yellow markings
-Throat has distinct horseshoe marking, more extended in males
-Iris mostly containing light pigment in its upper part

I got the captive bred ones as youngsters from a reputable source in Europe, and I trust the seller when he says that the parents are 100% baroni. They were identified as such by several Mantella experts including himself. He also mentioned that their back will turn black in time, so I'm not too worried about that for now.

So now for the photographs:

CB individual 1 (confirmed male)







Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
-There is some orange spotting on the ventral side of the femur
-There is an interrupted horseshoe shape on the throat

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-The iris is all black

CB individual 2 (likely male)





Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
-There is orange spotting on the ventral side of the femur
-There is more than one spot on the throat

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-The iris is all black

CB individual 3 (potentially female)








Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
-There is a decent amount of orange spotting on the ventral side of the femur
-There is an interrupted horseshoe shape on the throat

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-The iris is all black

Deceased WC individual (confirmed male and in my opinion, sadly the most beautiful one I had)





Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
-The iris has a gold upper part

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-No orange on the ventral side of the femur
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-There is a single spot on the throat

WC individual 2 (confirmed male)








Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
-The iris has a gold upper part

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-No orange on the ventral side of the femur
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-There is a single spot on the throat

WC individual 3 (likely female)







Characteristics which conflict with baroni:
None

Characteristics congruent with baroni and speaking against madagascariensis:
-The rostral stripe does not connect to the flank blotches
-No orange on the ventral side of the femur
-There are no flashmarks on the legs
-There is a single spot on the throat
-The iris is solid black

So what are your opinions on this? Personally I suspect that there has been some introgression into some wildcaught baroni, and my main suspect would be Mantella nigricans as this species often has interrupted horseshoe markings on the throat and a gold upper part of the iris. Nigricans also does not have flashmarks and a recent study has shown that genetically the two species probably have intermixed in recent history (evolutionary speaking).
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