Action: Amphibians: Provide particular enclosure furniture for calling sites, breeding areas or egg laying sites
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- One replicated study in Fiji found that adding rotting logs and hollow bamboo pipes, as well as a variety of substrates to an enclosure, promoted egg laying in frogs.
- One before-and-after study in Austria found that captive frogs started breeding when animals were housed in enclosures with more calling, perching and laying sites, as well as simulated wet and dry seasons.
Specific habitat features may be critical to amphibian breeding by offering sites for calling, courtship or egg laying. Mimicking an amphibian’s natural environment in captivity by providing these habitat features or artificial alternatives could improve breeding success.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A small, replicated, before-and-after study in 2004-2007 in Fiji found that the provision of egg laying sites including rotting logs and hollow bamboo stems Piper aduncum and various organic substrate in an enclosure resulted in successful breeding for two pairs of Fijian ground frogs Platymantis vitianus. Two egg clutches were found, one in a section of bamboo stem filled with damp soil substrate, and another under a moist rotting log on a mix of soil and leaf litter. A total of 39 froglets were raised after one year. A captive breeding program had been running for this species since 2004, but only one froglet was reared after three years of trying. From 2006-2007, five male and five female frogs were placed in a purpose built outdoor enclosure. Further detials in: Narayan E, Christi K. & Morley C. (2009) Captive propagation of the endangered nativeFijian frog Platymantis vitiana: Implications for ex-situ conservation and management. Pacific Conservation Biology, 15, 47–55.
A before-and-after study in 2010-2012 in Vienna, Austria found that captive Staurois parvus and Staurois guttatus started breeding when animals were housed in terraria with more calling, perching and laying sites, and with simulated wet and dry seasons, although no statistical tests were carried out. Neither species bred successfully in captivity before 2011. Once animals were moved to breeding arenas with a more complex habitat in August 2011, S. parvis tadpoles were observed from October 2011 and S. guttatus tadpoles from March 2012. By 2012, a total of 285 S. parvis froglets, 600 tadpoles and 180 juveniles had been raised and 76 S. guttatus tadpoles had been raised. In August 2011, five pairs of each species were moved from a medium-sized (50 × 60 × 70 cm) terraria with tree branches, plants and stones and no simulated wet and dry seasons, to larger (150 × 120 × 100 cm) enclosures with controllable waterfalls, plants, small burrows, ledges for calling sites and perching sites, and simulated wet and dry seasons. The waterfall for S. guttatus also had several tree branches.
- Narayan E., Christi K. & Morley C. (2007) Provision of egg-laying sites for captive breeding of the endangered Fijian ground frog Platymantis vitianus, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Conservation Evidence, 4, 61-65
- Preininger D., Weissenbacher A., Wampula T. & Hödl W. (2012) The conservation breeding of two foot-flagging frog species from Borneo, Staurois parvus and Staurois guttatus. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, 5, 45-56