The Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog, which has the scientific names of Gephyromantis salegy or Mantidactylus salegy, is an amphibian belonging to the Mantellidae family. This family consists of terrestrial, aquatic and arboreal frogs only found in Madagascar and Mayotte, with the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog being a terrestrial species endemic to Madagascar.
At an average size of between 1.8 in (46 mm) and 1.9 in (48 mm) for the males, and 1.77 in (45 mm) to 1.97 in (50 mm) for females, the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog is a comparatively large species and features a mosaic character pattern. Gephyromantis salegy is often found to have light markings below its eyes, and it only has rudimental heel spines.
Distinguishable from two similar species - the Gephyromantis luteus (White Madagascar Frog) and the Gephyromantis tandroka (or Mantidactylus tandroka, no common name found) - through its femoral glands, which are more distinct than those of these two species, and its overall larger size, the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog has a paired, blackish subgular vocal sac similar to the former species, while its weakly expressed dorsolateral ridges and its interocular tubercles show similarities to the latter.
Although there is no available information on the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog's breeding habits or biology, it is believed that this species breeds through direct development.
Occurring at altitudes between 1640 ft (500 m) and 3281 ft (1000 m) above sea-level, the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog only inhabits the most pristine rainforests of north-eastern Madagascar, where the males can be heard calling from elevated perches, usually between 6.5 ft (2 m) and 9.8 ft (3 m) off the ground, during the night. These calls consist of rapid series of between eight and eleven unharmonious, short notes; each of which consists of a pair of pulse groups.
In total, the range in which the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog occurs only includes an area of approximately 7,722 sq m (20,000 sq km), and its distribution is severely fragmented, with populations declining continually.
Conservation Status and Threats
The Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog is currently listed as 'Vulnerable', because its natural habitat is declining as a direct result of expanding human population, timber extraction and charcoal manufacture, as well as logging and deforestation to expand agriculture and livestock grazing.
To make matters worse, invasive eucalyptus also continues to spread throughout the area, choking existing, native plants out of existence. Global climate changes are also resulting in somewhat more subtle, yet still crucial changes to the specialised habitat required by the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog.
Although the Abolokopatrika Madagascar Frog occurs in two protected areas, the Réserve Spéciale d'Anjanaharibe-Sud and the Parc National de Masoala, there are no other conservation measures in place at present.
Considering how little is known about this species - to the point of it being unknown to and rarely recognised by members of local Malagasy communities - it is a shame that not more is done to learn about and protect this rather beautiful little creature, which does, after all, play an important role in the Eco-system of the Malagasy rainforests.