2,801Grants to


Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 160513519

Contribution to the integration of the Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) in the Isalo National Park conservation target, Madagascar

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 160513519) - Malagasy rainbow frog - Awarded $2,500 on November 20, 2016

Contribution to the integration of Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophrynegottlebei) in the Isalo National Park conservation target, Madagascar.

FalitianaMarrinoRakotoarisoa, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar



Madagascar is known by the richness, the originality and the endemism of its biodiversity. Nevertheless, this extraordinary richness is exposed to anthropic pressures (CEPF, 2000). The amphibian species « Scaphiophrynegottlebei » or « Malagasy rainbow frog » living only in the Isalo National Park is among the species victim of the pressures. This species is listed as Endangered (IUCN, 2015). Its extent of occurrence is less than 100 km sq., all individuals live in a single location, and the extent and quality of its habitat around Isalo are continuing to decline. It is also victim of over-collecting for the trade. This species is currently listed by CITES as appendix II (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). This study consists to reinforce the conservation system of the Malagasy rainbow frog by its integration to the Isalo National Park conservation’s target. This study has four aims: to determine the current status of the species and its vital area; to sensitize local people about the presence of this species in the Park, to train the park officers on the target species monitoring protocol; to publish the result at the local, national and international level.


I-                    Period and study site

This study has been carry out in the Isalo National Park Madagascar on October 2016 to March 2017. The Isalo National Park, created in 1962, is located to 269 km from Fianarantsoa, and 80 km from Ihosy. It extends between the longitudes 45 ° 11 '- 45 ° 23' east and latitudes 22 ° 22 '- 22 ° 40' south. The IsaloPark is part of a series called "Massif ruiniformeIsalo "whose total length is 180 km North / South orientation. It is located in the northern part of the massif ruiniform from the RN7 (National Road, number 7). It is located approximately 700 km southwest of Antananarivo (capital of Madagascar) and protects 815 km² of sandstone massif wildly eroded by wind and rain into bizarre ridges featuring wild forms, impressive gorges and canyons and tiny stalagmite pinnacles. The far wild west reminiscent of the landscape, dominated by rugged massive that rises up from the flat surrounding grassy plain, attracts hikers from the whole world that gather here to admire the sweeping colors of this Jurassic scenery. The climate is dry tropical with warm temperatures all year.

II-                  Methods

1-      Evaluation of the current species status, mark and map its area vital

Ø  Direct observation all along the transects

Many observations and counting have been realized all along transects. Two transects of 500m eachhave been established. Each transect has been visited twice a night: 07PM to 09PM and 3:30AM to 5:30 AM.

During each observation, the following parameters have been noticed:the number of individuals observed,ages,sex, transect number, date and time,climate, microhabitat, distance in comparison to the transect and the GPS coordinates.

The vital area will be obtained byjoining all recaptured points of same individual.

Ø  Systematicsearch

The systematic search consists to search in the habitat. It has been realized by using a stick all along a stream and a lake, during the night and early morning.

Ø  Surveys

Surveys have been done to the local population in order to know the area with a high concentration of our target species, the threats and pressures of the target species and its habitat.


2-      Local people sensitization

Ø  Workshops about the importance of the Malagasy rainbow frog conservation

The target people are the local and traditional authorities, and the local population. The subjects are: how to identify the Malagasy rainbow frog, its biology, ecology and habitat; what are its threats and pressures; how to minimise the effect of the threats and pressures. We think that the knowledge of the importance of the target species will reduce pressure in the Park.

3-      Park officers training

The objective of the training is to learn and to practice the methods of target species population survey. The targets were the park officers. It is important because the park officers will continue the target species monitoring at the end of the project.

4-      Extensions of result

It facilitates the integration of the target species in the park'sconservation target. The results will be published in the scientific journals Zoo keys and Zoological Journal.


III-                Results and interpretation

1-      Evaluation of the current species status, mark and map its area vital


Table 01: Number of captured individual according to the month




October (dry)



November (wet)



December (wet)



January (dry)



February (dry)










This table and graph show that the activity and the abundance of the Malagasy rainbow frog depend on the rain. It can be explained by the non-support of the heat.

The vital area wasn’t delimited because we didn’t have recapture.


2-      Local people sensitization

Sixty four (64) persons have been present to the workshops. Eighty per cent of them understand the necessity of the Malagasy rainbow frog’s conservation and they are ready to help by controlling the illicit collect of the target species.


3-      Park officers training

Twelve (12) park officers have been trained during 7 days. Now, they are able to do the target species population’s survey. They will do it every month in order to know the dynamic of the population of the target species. And the data will be used for the improvement the conservation system.


4-      Extensions of result

It is still in process.



IV-               Discussion

Methods: The method of vital area’s delimitation wasn’t efficient because we didn’t have recapture. Radiotracking is the best method to determine the vital area.

Results: The number of captured individuals is few compared toRanaivoarivelo’sresult on 2014. It can be caused by climate change and by study period. We noticed that the rainy season is late on 2016; normally the rainy season starts on October but not on November.

Conclusion and recommendation

The Malagasy rainbow frog is rare in Isalo National Park. It is only active during the wet season (on November and December). Study of population’s dynamic is recommended in order to know the population’s fluctuation according to this activity period. This species is exposed to many pressures leading to the decline of the population. Fortunately, the local populations know its importance and they will participate actively to its conservation action plan. If the level of the pressures stays constant, this species will disappear. So, the conservation system of this species needs to be improved.


IUCN, 2015. http://www.iucnredlist.org/

Ranaivoarivelo, 2014. Habitat loss in the peripheral zone of the National Park of Isalo: effects on Scaphiophrynegottlebei and Mantellaexpectata.

Crottini& al, 2008.The phylogeography of the Malagasy frogs Mantellaexpectata and Scaphiophrynegottlebei in the arid Isalo Massif, and its significance for conservation.


Mercurio&Andreone,2006.The tadpoles of Scaphiophrynegottlebei (Microhylidae, Scaphiophryninae) and Mantellaexpectata (Mantellidae, Mantellinae) from Isalo Massif, central-southern Madagascar.


Andreone& al, 2006. Between environmental degradation and international pet trade: conservation strategies for the threatened amphibians of Madagascar.


CEPF, 2000. http://www.cepf.net/fr


Project 160513519 location - Madagascar, Africa