Saturday, 10 March 2018

Captive breeding of water frogs

There have been enormous advances since I started to keep amphibians sixty years ago. Recently, I was pleased to see further evidence of progress in a paper describing scientifically-based methods for the captive breeding of water frogs.

Even developing the methodology for common species to breed under controlled conditions gives a pretty good idea of where to start with the rescue of an endangered related species should that be necessary. In addition, of course, it tells you a lot about the physiological requirements and the conditions that trigger reproduction or, if conditions are not right, that inhibit it. 

This paper in the BHS’s Herpetological Bulletin by Christopher Michaels (now at the Zoological Society of London) and Kristofer Försäter working in England and Sweden describes the breeding of four species of water frog, Pelophylax. This is how they began the Discussion section of the paper:

Pelophylax sp. rely on well warmed, sunny areas of relatively still water with rafts of  floating vegetation and rarely stray far from water. They are heliophiles and actively bask, exposing themselves to the heat and UVB irradiation of direct sunlight (Michaels & Preziosi, 2013). Historically, indoors enclosures for amphibians were typically lacking in UVB provision and thermal gradients. With increasing understanding of amphibian lighting requirements and the availability of technology to meet them, indoors husbandry for water frogs is now much more easily achievable. Our captive enclosures were designed to recreate the UVB rich, brightly lit and warm environments inhabited by water frogs in nature and these conditions proved successful in maintaining and breeding this genus indoors.

Michaels CJ, Försäter K. 2017. Captive breeding of Pelophylax water frogs under controlled conditions indoors. Herpetological Bulletin  142, 29-34.