Frogs & Toads

Newly Described Poison Dart Frog Hatched in Captivity

Photo Jorge GuerrelSmithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientists, working as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, hatched the first Andinobates Geminisae Froglet born in captivity.

Photo Jorge GuerrelSmithsonian Tropical Research Institute (2)

Adinobates geminisae tadpole_3_Photo Brian GratwickeSmithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Adinobates geminisae tadpole_Photo Brian GratwickeSmithsonian Conservation Biology InstitutePhoto Credits: Brian Gratwicke (Images: 3,4,5,6) ; Jorge Guerrel (Images: 1,2 7,8)

The tiny poison dart frog species only grows to 14 millimeters and was first collected and described last year from a small area in central Panama. Scientists collected two adults to evaluate the potential for maintaining the species in captivity as an insurance population.

“There is a real art to learning about the natural history of an animal and finding the right set of environmental cues to stimulate successful captive breeding,” said Brian Gratwicke, Amphibian Conservation Biologist at SCBI and Director of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. “Not all amphibians are easy to breed in captivity, so when we do breed a species for the first time in captivity it is a real milestone for our project and a cause for celebration.”

Scientists simulated breeding conditions for the adult frogs in a small tank. The frogs laid an egg on a bromeliad leaf, which scientists transferred to a moist petri dish. After 14 days, the tadpole hatched. Scientists believe adult Andinobates Geminisae Frogs may provide their eggs and tadpoles with parental care, which is not uncommon for dart frogs, but they have not been able to determine if that is the case. In the wild, one of the parents likely transports the tadpole on his or her back to a little pool of water, usually inside a tree or on a bromeliad leaf.

After the tadpole hatched, scientists moved it from the petri dish to a small cup of water, mimicking the small pools available in nature. On a diet of fish food, the tadpole successfully metamorphosed into a froglet, after 75 days, and is now the size of a mature adult.

Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project scientists are unsure if Andinobates Geminisae Frogs are susceptible to the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus. However, since it is only found in a small area of Panama and is dependent on primary rain forests, which are under pressure from agricultural conversion, they have identified it as a conservation-priority species.

The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project breeds endangered species of frogs in Gamboa, Panama and El Valle, Panama. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is a partnership between the Houston Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, New England Zoo, SCBI and STRI. This study was supported by Minera Panama.

More amazing photos, below the fold!

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Rare Cinnamon Frogs Hatch at Chester Zoo

Cinammon frog Nyctixalus pictus (8)

Rare frogs found in the forests of South East Asia have bred for the first time at Chester Zoo. The 43 Cinnamon Frogs are the only amphibians of their kind to hatch in any zoo in the world in nearly two years. 

Cinammon frog in metamorph (3)

Cinammon frog_juvenille (7)

Cinammon frog_juvenille (9)Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins/Chester Zoo

Team manager of lower vertebrates and invertebrates for Chester Zoo, Ben Baker, said, “It’s really exciting that we have bred these unusual and very sensitive frogs, especially as we’re the first zoo in Europe to ever do so. 

“Cinnamon Frogs are a secretive species and live in a very, very specialized environment. Their ideal habitat is incredibly limited and so, as with many frog species around the world, they are extremely fragile. Currently they are listed as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but with population sizes decreasing due to widespread habitat loss; the species is likely to become threatened in the near future. 

“Relatively little is actually known about the Cinnamon Frog, and so we now hope to learn a lot from our new arrivals. The delicate work the team has put in to getting these beautiful but complex animals to breed and all of the intensive care we’re now giving them will help us to build up our knowledge base. This kind of information can be invaluable for the long-term protection of the species.”

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Watch a Blue Dart Frog Grow Up at Smithsonian's National Zoo

1 frog

Check out this young Blue Dart Frog morphing from a tadpole to a froglet at Smithsonian's National Zoo! It takes about 80 days to go from fertilized egg, to tadpole, to fully-formed tiny frog.

Poison Dart Frogs are native to Central and South America. In the wild, the blue frog secretes poison from its skin due to chemicals from its diet. But at the zoo, without rainforest ants to eat, this bright blue frog is harmless. Visitors can see froglet and its family on exhibit at the zoo.

Frog 1

2 frog

3 frog

4 frog

Photo credit: Justin Graves / Smithsonian's National Zoo 

Blue Dart Frogs are found in a few isolated 'islands' of forest in the savanna of southern Suriname. Because their habitat is so difficult to reach, there is little data to tell us whether their population is in decline. Some species of Dart Frogs are Threatened or Endangered, and Blue Dart Frogs are certainly at risk as a result of their small ranges.

Did you know that worldwide, over 32% of amphibians are listed as globally endangered, and almost half of all known amphibian species are declining? 


From Tadpole to Froglet: An Amazing Transformation

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage1

On March 12, an amazing transformation took place at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo:  a Milky Tree Frog tadpole became a froglet, one more important stage on its journey to becoming an adult Frog.  The metamorphosis from tadpole to juvenile took about three weeks to complete.

Milky Tree Frog_Froglet Stage2

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage1

Milky Tree Frog_Adult Stage2
Photo Credit:  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Milky Tree Frogs are also known as Amazon Milk Frogs, Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frogs or Blue Milk Frogs.  They inhabit tropical rain forests in the Amazon basin, and dwell entirely in the forest canopy.  This is not all that unusual, except most Tree Frogs are rather small.  The Milky Tree Frog, however, grows up to four inches (10 cm) long – big enough to dine on pinky mice at the zoo.

The “milk” in this Frog’s name comes from the poisonous, milk-colored fluid they secrete when stressed. The photos above show the froglet (top two photos) and adult (bottom two photos).


Ever Seen a Frog This Tiny? Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Collaborators Successfully Breed Endangered Species

Frog coin 2

The Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus), an endangered species native to Panama, now has a new lease on life. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is successfully breeding the chevron-patterned form of the species in captivity for the first time. The rescue project is raising nine healthy frogs from one mating pair and hundreds of tadpoles from another pair.

“These frogs represent the last hope for their species,” said Brian Gratwicke, international coordinator for the project and a research biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, one of six project partners. “This new generation is hugely inspiring to us as we work to conserve and care for this species and others.”

Nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are at risk of extinction. The rescue project aims to save priority species of frogs in Panama, one of the world’s last strongholds for amphibian biodiversity. While the global amphibian crisis is the result of habitat loss, climate change and pollution, a fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, is likely responsible for as many as 94 of 120 frog species disappearing since 1980.

Frog duo
Frog piggyback

Frog on leaf
Photo Credit: Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

See more pictures and read much more about these frogs, and the great efforts to preserve their species, after the fold:

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Aukland Zoo Breeds Critically Endangered Archey's Frogs

Frog hero

For the first time ever, Archey's Frogs have been successfully bred in captivity. Aukland Zoo is the only facility in the world to keep this critically endangered New Zealand species. 

Laid in October, the eggs hatched in early December. Twice before, other facilities had attempted to breed Archey's Frogs from wild-caught individuals, but the young did not survive to adulthood. Aukland Zoo now has seven healthy young frogs, bred from their own long-term captive population. 

Frog 2

Frog 3
Photo credit: Aukland Zoo

Watch Archey's Frogs wiggle their way through different developmental stages:
  

What makes Archey's Frogs unique? Read more after the fold.

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After 12-Year Effort by Zoos, Kihansi Spray Toads Returned to the Wild

5 Julie Larsen Maher 4881 Female Kihansi Spray Toad with Toadlet 01 27 10

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, the Toledo Zoo, Tanzanian government, World Bank and other partners reintroduced 2,000 Kihansi spray toads into the Kihansi Gorge in Tanzania in October. This is the first example of an amphibian species that had been declared extinct in the wild being reintroduced into its native habitat.

The repatriation effort marks a major milestone for a species declared extinct in the wild in 2009. It is the result of a 12-year partnership to breed the toads in captivity while its habitat was restored. 

6 Julie Larsen Maher 5448 Kihansi Spray Toad BZ 12 04 12

2. Alyssa Borek 0339 Kihansi Spray Toads in Tanzania 10 00 12

 

 “The WCS Bronx Zoo has been working with our partners for more than a decade to save the Kihansi spray toad with the ultimate goal of  reintroducing it back into the wild,” said Jim Breheny, Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS Zoos & Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo. “The curators in the Bronx Zoo and in the Toledo Zoo – whose expertise allowed them to develop a successful husbandry and propagation program for these unique little toads – have helped to ensure the reintroduction of an important living component back into the Tanzanian ecosystem.”

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Ever Heard of Food Flagging Frogs?

Tadpoles

These tiny tadpoles are a huge sensation at Schönbrunn Zoo, the first zoo to have succeeded in the breeding these food flagging frogs native to Borneo. Congratulations come from Professor Walter Hödl of the University of Vienna, one of the most renowned international amphibian specialists, saying: “This is the first breeding program world-wide!”

Food flagging frogs owe their name to the fact that they communicate by waving to each other. This habit comes from their adapting to their natural surroundings, as they live by roaring streams and waterfalls. In order to attract their fellows’ attention, they not only call but they also wave their hind legs. By doing this, they spread the coloured webs between their toes to emphasise their signals.

Wave

3 tads

Photo Credit: Photo 1 and 3 Schönbrunn Zoo/Norbert Potensky, Photo 2: Doris Preininger

Continue reading "Ever Heard of Food Flagging Frogs?" »


From Tadpole To Frog; Conserving A Vanishing Species

Frog face

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Washington just helped release over 1,200 endangered Oregon spotted frogs into the wild! They reared some of the endangered frogs from tiny tadpoles to full-fledged frogs, giving them a head start on survival. 

The native amphibian has lost ground to habitat loss from draining and development, disease and the introduction of invasive species such as the American bullfrog, and have been decimated by 80-90%. 

Oregon spotted frogs are highly aquatic.They are found in or near permanent still water such as lakes, ponds, springs, marshes and the grassy margins of slow-moving streams.

Before the frogs were released into the wild on October 7, each was weighed and measured at Northwest Trek. The frogs were released in the Dailman Lake area at Fort Lewis. The protected site contains one of the largest relatively intact wetlands remaining in the Puget Lowlands. State biologists will be able to track the Oregon spotted frogs using their ID tags. Their life expectancy in the wild is approximately 5-8 years.

Frog babies

Measuring

A frog in hand...

Release 2
Photo Credit: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park



 


Breeding Rare Toads for an Amphibian Ark

A. limosus (lowland) 3

Amphibian populations worldwide are in crisis. A mysterious but far-reaching fungal disease has spread globally and threatens to kill off entire species. Thankfully, organizations like the Smithsonian Institution are doing their part to help. These endangered Limosa Harlequin Frogs, which are technically toads, were bred as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. The project aims to build an ark to house priority rescue species and find a cure so that one day our assurance populations can be put back in the wild.

The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is a joint project between the Smithsonian Institution, Defenders of Wildlife, Zoo New England, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Houston Zoo, El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, Africam Safari, ANAM and the Summit Zoo (in Panama). Learn more and find out how you can help on their website http://amphibianrescue.org or show your support on their Facebook page today!

Atelopus limosus lowland juvenile 1

Atelopus limosus baby 2Photo credits: Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute