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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Amphibians: Increase caloric intake of females in preparation for breeding Management of Captive Animals

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One replicated, before-and-after study in Australia found that clutch size of frogs increased when females increased in weight before breeding, as well as having mate choice, recorded mating calls, and sexes being separated in the non-breeding periods.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A before-and-after study in 2009–2012 in New South Wales, Australia reported that allowing female captive southern corroboree frogs Pseudophryne corroboree to gain significant weight before the breeding period, along with separating sexes during the non-breeding period, providing mate choice for females and playing recorded mating calls increased clutch size and decreased egg mortality, although no statistical tests were carried out. At Melbourne Zoo from 2009 to 2010 females were fed a normal diet before the breeding season, average female weight was 2.8 g (range: 1.8–3.7 g) and average clutch size was 17–20/female, with 70–92% egg mortality. In 2011, females were fed more intensively for a further 16 days after the overwintering period, before being introduced to the males. The average female mass was 3.4 g (range: 2.7–4.0 g) and clutch size was 40 with 70% egg mortality. In 2012, females were again separated from the males to be fed more intensively for 14 days. The average female weight was 3.6 g (range: 2.9–4.6 g) and average clutch size was 46, with 27% egg mortality.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2019) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 539-567 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.