Study

Captive management and breeding of the critically endangered southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) (Moore 1953) at Taronga and Melbourne Zoos.

  • Published source details McFadden M., Hobbs R., Marantelli G., Harlow P., Banks C. & Hunter D. (2013) Captive management and breeding of the critically endangered southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) (Moore 1953) at Taronga and Melbourne Zoos. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, 5, 70-87

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Amphibians: Increase caloric intake of females in preparation for breeding

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals

Amphibians: Separate sexes in non-breeding periods

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals

Amphibians: Allow female mate choice

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals

Amphibians: Play recordings of breeding calls to simulate breeding season in the wild

Action Link
Management of Captive Animals

Amphibians: Vary enclosure temperature to simulate seasonal changes in the wild

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

    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.

  2. Amphibians: Separate sexes in non-breeding periods

    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%).

  3. Amphibians: Allow female mate choice

    A replicated, before-and-after study in 2006–2012 in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia found that husbandry interventions such as introducing females carrying eggs to males, allowing female mate choice, separating sexes during the non-breeding period, allowing females to gain significant weight before the breeding period, 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. At Melbourne Zoo from 2006–2009 females were kept in the same breeding enclosure for the season and not moved (average clutch size: 17; egg mortality: 91%). In 2010, females were moved between two breeding enclosures (average clutch size: 20; egg mortality: 78%). In 2011, no female moves are reported, (average clutch size: 40; egg mortality: 70%).  In 2012, females were moved between breeding tanks (average clutch size: 46; egg mortality: 27%). At Taronga Zoo in 2010, the three largest females were moved into other breeding tanks mid-season (average clutch size: 80; egg mortality: 72%). Movement of females is not reported for 2011 (average clutch size: 70; egg mortality: 25.5%), or 2012 (average clutch size: 54; egg mortality: 28%).

  4. Amphibians: Play recordings of breeding calls to simulate breeding season in the wild

    A before-and-after study in 2006–2012 in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia found that husbandry interventions such as providing playing recorded mating calls, separating sexes during the non-breeding period, along allowing females to gain significant weight before the breeding period, and providing mate choice for females increased clutch size and decreased egg mortality in captive southern corroboree frogs Pseudophryne corroboree, although no statistical tests were carried out. At Melbourne Zoo from 2006–2009 no recorded mating calls were played, (average clutch size: 17; egg mortality: 91%). A recorded tape of mating calls was installed and played in 2010 (average clutch size: 20; egg mortality: 78%), 2011 (average clutch size: 40; egg mortality: 70%) and in 2012 (average clutch size: 46; egg mortality: 27%). At Taronga Zoo a recorded tape of mating calls was installed and played in 2010 (average clutch size: 80; egg mortality: 72%). In 2011, recorded mating calls were not used (average clutch size: 70; egg mortality: 25.5%). In 2012, recorded mating calls were played (average clutch size: 54; egg mortality: 28%). The tape was played for 15 minutes of each hour from 1800 to 2200 hours and was audible to the frogs in all tanks.

  5. Amphibians: Vary enclosure temperature to simulate seasonal changes in the wild

    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. In 2006 Melbourne Zoo had no cooling period (average clutch size: 21; egg mortality: 95%) In 2007-2011, cooling periods of 6-9⁰C for 31-64 days were used (average clutch size: 21; egg mortality: 85%). In 2012 a cooling period of 98-112 days at 5-12⁰C was used (average clutch size: 46; egg mortality: 27%).  At Taronga Zoo the cooling period was 5⁰C for 56 days for 2010 (average clutch size: 20; egg mortality: 72%), 2011 (average clutch size: 12.2; egg mortality: 26%) and 2012 (average clutch size: 17; egg mortality: 28%).

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