leaf frogs

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
It just occurred to me to upload photos of my breeding group of Malaysian leaf frogs. Worked with them for years and got agonizingly close to successful breeding. Hardly anyone has gotten them to breed in captivity let alone keeping them alive for more than a few months especially now that almost all the wc imports come in with chytrid. The 2-3 people in the US working on breeding have gotten as far as tads but very few ever made it to emergence. Very sad. Just great frogs though. I've had some of them for 4 years.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/members/carlton-albums-malaysian-leaf-frogs.html
 
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Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Keep up your great work with them. You will do it!

Well I sent the group off to the Virginia Aquarium over a year ago. The little keeper group working on them had theorized that they need a significant barometric pressure change to trigger egg development in the females in preparation to monsoon breeding. Why? Several clues including the breeding frenzy seen in newly imported frogs that have just spent many hours on jets...and experience big swings in pressure along the way. The effect lasts for just a few days. But, most likely the wild frogs were collected during or right before the SE Asia monsoons as that is when they are most active, the males are calling, females gathering along streams, and so they are easier to find. The females are silent and the vast majority of wc animals offered are male. Females don't show interest in breeding unless there's a group of males available; about 8 to 1. A simple pair won't work.

Dealers may say they are offering pairs but unless they have a frog that is 2-3 times the size of the others they don't have females. And to make matters worse almost all current imports arrive with chytrid fungal infections. By the time this is obvious the frog is doomed unless the keeper happens to know what to look for or treats them during quarantine. I got my original male 4 years before the others and he was always healthy. He died after exposure to the newer arrivals even after they went through a 3 month quarantine. Chytrid was just becoming clear in these Asian species about that time. I was just sick to realize what happened to him.

We tried to produce low pressure in sealed terrariums to trigger spawning (crude but creative...a shop vac or air pump in covered bathtubs or large totes). It almost worked. Then shipped frogs somewhere far off by jet to see if they arrived ready to spawn. The males are happy to breed any time the weather gets stormy but the key seemed to be in the females...they are also ready to eat small males if they aren't quite receptive. Probably a very nutritious pre-mating meal. Unfortunately, the US Pacific coast just doesn't get these sorts of "pre-monsoon" pressure lows so I had an aging group that was never ready to breed. At that time there had been only a couple of successful breedings around the world and they were all newly imported groups. It's always been hard to keep these frogs healthy in captivity because the typical terrestrial frog setups don't suit them all that well..substrate pH etc. Guess I was lucky to stumble on a good routine to keep mine alive so long.

Then I got a message from the Aquarium curator who was setting up a Malaysian forest exhibit and breeding populations of some of the smaller native species. They were looking for a group of established or cbb frogs and someone gave them my name. As they are on the SE Atlantic coast that gets big tropical storms and hurricanes I felt they had a chance to take advantage of this more than I ever would. So, after a lot of soul searching, I sent my group off across the US, and sure enough, two of the females did spawn successfully. They hatched a couple hundred eggs, had a swarm of tads, but I haven't heard if any morphed successfully. I suspect not, or they would have told me. My animals are technically on long term breeding loan, but they are getting old by now so I wouldn't want to ship them back again.

I have been tempted to get one or two males just to enjoy them again. The males have a VW bug car horn type call that I really enjoy. They'll answer you if you call back to them. Now we thought chameleon keeping had its odd points! Try explaining why you sit around giving loud HONKS to the air in the evening!
 
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