We provide an account of maintaining a captive population of the Critically Endangered mantellid frog Mantella aurantiaca at a breeding facility near Andasibe, Madagascar, reporting novel observations on behaviour, fecundity, reproduction, temperature tolerance, age at maturity, and survivorship. In April of 2012, 25 breeding groups were established from founder stock collected at three natural breeding sites located on the footprint of the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt mine. Over a two-year period, 469 breeding events were recorded. Breeding activity was highly seasonal and aligned with average monthly temperatures, with peak breeding activity observed during the austral summer months of December and January. An average of 7 egg clutches per female was recorded over the two years, with the mean clutch size being 74 eggs (193 max/24 min). Tadpoles completed metamorphosis between 53 and 139 days, with 441 individuals from 22 clutches of eggs surviving to one year of age. Males were recorded vocalizing 4 months after completing metamorphosis, and the first fertile eggs were produced at 11 months. Reproduction in the F1 generation was captured on video and we provide a detailed description of this behaviour, including an observation of males ‘pulsating’ femoral glands on the dorsum of a female during reproduction. Based on these data and observations, we discuss the importance of record keeping for captive amphibians, potential conservation implications of creating new breeding sites for reintroducing M. aurantiaca, as well as the advantages of running captive breeding programmes within the native range of a species.
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