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Tales from Olly, an MBP Volunteer- Madagascar’s frogs


Despite humans’ best efforts, Madagascar is still full of wildlife. Admittedly less than when people first arrived 2000 years ago, but the country is still thick with it, especially if you look in all the hidden places you don’t expect to find it…

Like on top of the tarpaulin I had been using to take the brunt of the rain and protect my delicate tent. Here, to my surprise, I found a little population of some delightfully spotty frogs.

Along with a black-and-yellow version below, I found the inverse: a white-and-yellow version (perhaps a juvenile?).




These two are both members of the Heterixalus alboguttatus species, the White Spotted Reed Frog (with albo- meaning ‘white’ in Latin, and –guttatus meaning ‘drops’ or spots). Like 99.2% of all Malagasy frogs, this species is endemic – in fact, the whole genus of 11 different species is.

Not only can you find critters in unexpected places, you can find them in the most expected of places, though they can be equally surprising to see. Walking along a path in pursuit of a group of P. simus, an oddly shaped ‘leaf’ on the ground caught my eye. Looking again I realised it was a large frog, cunningly camouflaged to the reddish leaf litter strewn on the ground. Fascinatingly, the patch this burgundy frog resided in was the reddest patch around – most of the leaf-litter in the area was a greener or browner hue, where the frog’s coloration would have announced its presence rather than concealed it.



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