Action: Amphibians: Separate sexes in non-breeding periods
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- One replicated, before-and-after study in Australia found that clutch size of frogs increased when sexes were separated in the non-breeding periods, alongside providing female mate choice, playing recorded mating calls and allowing females to increase in weight before breeding.
Many species of amphibian lead largely solitary lives during non-breeding periods in the wild but may be permanently housed in mixed-sex groups in captivity. In some species, burrows or nests are constructed before the breeding season. Separating the sexes outside of the breeding season allows the males or females time to construct these burrows. The timing of introducing the females to the males alongside could promote breeding.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, before-and-after study in 2006-2012 in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia reported that providing a pre-breeding cooling period, along with allowing females to gain significant weight before the breeding period, separating sexes during the non-breeding period, providing mate choice for females and playing recorded mating calls, increased clutch size and decreased egg mortality in captive southern corroboree frogs Pseudophryne corroboree, although no statistical tests were carried out. From 2006-2010 Melbourne Zoo did not separate sexes in the non-breeding period (average clutch size: 18; egg mortality: 89%). In 2011-2012, sexes were separated in the non-breeding period (average clutch size: 43; egg mortality: 89%). At Taronga Zoo sexes were always kept separate in the non-breeding periods in 2010 (average clutch size: 80; egg mortality: 72%), 2011(average clutch size: 70; egg mortality: 26%) and 2012(average clutch size: 54; egg mortality: 28%).