Thanks to Ron Gagliardo (AmphibianArk) and Atlanta Zoo, this weekend I will be taking several Splendid Leaf Frogs, Cruziohyla calcarifer, with me to America. They are part of an international conservation initiative that was started many years ago. The breeding programme was first started in Manchester in 2000 with the aim of establishing an ‘Ark’ for the species. Over the years breeding has gone well and the bloodlines have been carefully managed at The Manchester Museum, who deserve all credit for supporting their care. This species only lays very few eggs, but through experience we have been gaining a really good idea of how to raise and maintain these frogs in the best possible conditions. Keeping the species has also facilitated much research, including work for my own Master Degree and also several excellent Manchester student projects. The research has helped us learn much about this wonderful species, from providing a unique perspective into territoriality, communication and dietary requirements, to enabling a thorough comparison with other closely related species (to see an example of a supervised student project on a calcarifer/craspedopus comparison click here: calcarifer eye morphology. Also, the unusual phenomenon of ‘leg-waving’ in phyllomedusines was first witnessed with the captive specimens: https://frogblogmanchester.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/tree-frog-leg-waving/
Frogs bred at the museum are now being distributed to world zoo’s that have the necessary skills to maintain them in optimum conditions; Some have already been provided to Bristol and Chester Zoo in England. I must admit that the conservation of these particular frogs is so close to my heart, and so am extremely pleased that they are going to others who fully appreciate how very special they are. Perhaps more importantly, it’s good to know that the species is now doing so well in the wild, thanks to the likes of Brian Kubicki at the CRARC in Costa Rica.
Video clip of the frogs in the Wild: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597118.stm)
Story in UniLife Magazine: http://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/unilife/vol6-issue8.pdf