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Cowani is one of the most challenging frogs to keep from various sources. They are nervous frogs that need a lot more room than other species, can have finicky eating habits, and have slow tadpole development.
 

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I found this video, thought it was nice to see cowani and their wild habitat. It was made in January 2014 it says, so hopefully they are still doing alright for now.


Bryan
 

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What impresses me - apart from the beauty of the species - the temps are recorded. I know that Mantellas love low temps, with serious risks of death above 26 ° C, but here we are talking about 29° C at 8 AM. It is true that they can thermoregulate in the wild.
 

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Well, in the wild they can hide under a cool stone or something during the hottest part of the day. It's hard to achieve temperature differentials like that in vivs, especially smaller ones.

In the video it looks like they're not very densely populated. Maybe they're more territorial and need larger spaces. Or their population numbers are just low.
 

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Well, in the wild they can hide under a cool stone or something during the hottest part of the day. It's hard to achieve temperature differentials like that in vivs, especially smaller ones.

In the video it looks like they're not very densely populated. Maybe they're more territorial and need larger spaces. Or their population numbers are just low.


Or use evaporative cooling to deal with the higher temperatures... as well as sheltering in the crevices that provide a thermal refuge...

Secretive species are a problem in determining distribution within a habitat. It is easy to under or over estimate the total population. A classic example of this (while a snake) was how grey banded kingsnakes were perceived for a very long time.

Some comments

Ed
 

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The good news is that several new localities of cowani have been discovered-- some still in prime habitat (for now).

Cowani also can be found living in rock crevices up to a meter deep when seeking shelter, according to Franco Andreone when he's spoken with me.

Temperatures in the 80s have been recorded in cowani habitat, but one thing that is distinct about cowani is that they prefer to live by permanent streams, also what Andreone has told me. While some localities do live far from water, cowani are commonly found hiding under rocks by the stream.
 

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Good to hear that there's still some of these guys left in the wild, and that there's also the habitat to support them. Is the habitat protected?

Temperatures in the 80s have been recorded in cowani habitat, but one thing that is distinct about cowani is that they prefer to live by permanent streams, also what Andreone has told me. While some localities do live far from water, cowani are commonly found hiding under rocks by the stream.
Hmmm, if they live by permanent streams, are they seasonal like some of the other mantella?
 

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About habitat protection, one Mantella cowani site is community-managed, so there is a group of people from the area who organized together to control access to the site and monitor it. This was part of a project launched a few years ago within a sort of national conservation strategy for cowani, but this never really had the funding or support like the conservation strategy for aurantiaca has had. No Mantella cowani occur in any nationally protected areas.

The best known sites are the one that is managed by the community and the one in this video, both of which used to serve as collection sites for the pet trade.

When I first visited the area as a tourist in 2007 and asked for help to look for Mantella cowani it was immediately suggested that I just wait in town and someone will bring a bag of them to me to sell the next day, that way I wouldn't have to go looking for them myself. People also were very vague about the few sites where the species occurs - clearly everyone knew but nobody was interested to take me to them or talk about it, only to put them in a bag and sell.

This time, when I took this video and visited with a research team, there was a group of people with baseball hats printed with Mantella cowani on it who knew all the Mantella sites by name and we had to go through some meetings in order to gain access to do the research, so there seemed to be a different kind of awareness of the species now from seven years ago, and that maybe the frog is important for other reasons than just to sell it.

They're surviving in habitat that is highly altered from what they evolved with, where there isn't forest left, but they are hanging on. Threat of an infectious disease like chytridiomycosis is still pretty worrying, and I can't imagine how they used to be collected by the hundreds for the pet trade considering how difficult they were to find and how few sites are left where they exist.

Re: temperature, it was hot during the day. From what we observed and also were told, the frogs are really only active in the mornings before the day has warmed up, then they go back into some secret cool moist crevice to hide and are impossible to see. They're also really only active for a short breeding period like most other mantellas, so basically this is a frog that I guess today probably spends a lot of its time out of view hunkered down in a moist mossy crack in a rock waiting for conditions to be good enough to move about in the open again.
 

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Rain Frog...your new website with the information on Mantellas was really interesting....they are beautiful frogs, and you provided the experience on several aspects that should be very helpful to keeping them...i.e., bugs in compost
 

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Thanks, Judy. Mantella froglets are pretty sensitive in my experience, and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.
 

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There is a video posted in Members Frogs and vivariums. In the post, there is some information regarding their care in captivity.
 

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I found this video, thought it was nice to see cowani and their wild habitat. It was made in January 2014 it says, so hopefully they are still doing alright for now.

Mantella cowani near Antoetra, Madagascar - YouTube

Bryan
After watching a Mantella milotympanum video this morning, in which habitat was severely degraded and developed for agriculture, I thought I might comment on this video. The cowani habitat is pretty badly degraded. I'm sure Pinus aren't even native to Madagascar. They seem to litter the hills in the video. Pretty sad. I hope the vast expanse of Pine scattered rolling hills wasn't once gallery forest. Anyways, it would be nice if some cowani habitat was protected and restored. Thanks, JVK
 
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