• Madagascar
  • Lives in the rocky dry forests and canyons of Madagascar’s Isalo Massif, breeding in the shallow, temporary pools within these canyons.
  • Adapted for climbing rocks (including vertical rock surfaces) and digging burrows.
  • One of the most highly decorated of the Madagascan frogs, the Malagasy rainbow frog will inflate itself as a defense mechanism if disturbed by a predator.
  • Included on CITES appendix II because it is threatened with over-collection for the pet trade.
  • Habitat loss and degradation through factors such as mining, logging and prolonged drought.
  • Over-collection for the pet trade: thousands of individuals are captured each year.
  • The Malagasy rainbow frog is a restricted range species, occupying a single location of less than 100 km2. Over-collection, in addition to the continued decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, has led to it becoming classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species..
Conservation Required
  • Education programme to encourage more sustainable harvesting for the pet trade.
  • Captive breeding programme.

Proposed Actions

EDGE aims to ensure that harvesting for the pet trade is sustainable, and would like to investigate the possibility of a captive breeding programme for this frog.

The Malagasy rainbow frog lives in the rocky dry forests of Madagascar’s Isalo Massif, where it breeds in shallow temporary pools found in canyons.  This species is well adapted to climbing in its rocky surroundings, and can even scale vertical surfaces!  When threatened, this frog will inflate itself as a defence mechanism against predators.  


Habitat loss and degradation, caused by mining, logging and prolonged drought, is a major threat to the Malagasy rainbow frog, which is found in an area less than 100 km2.  Furthermore, its brightly coloured appearance makes the Malagasy rainbow frog a target for the pet trade, but over-collection of individuals threatens its survival in the wild.


EDGE aims to set up an education programme to encourage the sustainable harvest of this frog for the pet trade.  Furthermore, we would like to investigate the possibility of creating a captive breeding programme for the Malagasy rainbow frog, individuals from which could boost wild populations.  Captive breeding for the pet trade may also be a feasible way of reducing collection pressure on wild populations.


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14th Nov 11
The Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) may well be the most decorated of all Madagascan frogs, hence why it is also known as the painted burrowi...  Read