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Global explorer’s save the date

focOver the summer we have be running a new initiative ‘Global Explorers‘, where families have been visiting Manchester Museum and creating animals from junk modelling materials, inspired by the museum’s collections, including the museum’s Vivarium as well as the Nature’s Library and Living Worlds.They have made everything from frogs, birds, foxes,  and many more…

1[2]The Autumn will also provide many opportunities for families wanting to get immersed in the museum’s collections, so don’t miss our next BIG SATURDAY ON 27TH SEPTEMBER, which will provide a full day of discovery and exploration of the South Pacific inspired by the Museum’s Living Cultures collection.

Here you will able to make their own Hawaiian flower lei to wear as you all explore the Museum and learn about the fascinating cultures and diverse environments of the Pacific.

Drop in, free, for families

*Don’t forget there are also drop-in drawing and other art activities inspired by the Museum’s collection in the Museum’s Discovery Centre, every single weekend 11am-4pm.

Guest blog post contribution by Sajia Sultana, Manchester University student and Manchester Museum Summer Public Programme Intern, and Victoria Grant, Family Programme Co-ordinator.

Colour-changing frogs

When people think of colour-changing animals most people immediately think of chameleons, and although certain chameleons can change colour, they’re not the only animals to do so..

Lemur leaf frog, showing green resting colouration

Lemur leaf frog, showing green resting colouration

For the last few weeks I’ve been investigating the dramatic colour change of some of the lemur leaf frogs at the vivarium.

Visitors to the vivarium can see the lemur frogs being housed in the tanks on the left as you look into the back of house conservation area, but here they are normally sleeping on the underside of leaves or occasionally pressed tight against the glass to conserve moisture. Different groups of frogs are carefully kept in separate tanks for each bloodline, in order to preserve genetic diversity for their future conservation.

Lemur leaf frog, showing dark brown colouration associated with nocturnal activity

Lemur leaf frog, showing brown colour associated with nocturnal activity

One of the amazing things about these frogs is that they can change their pale green colour to a dark reddy-brown colour. However, even if you’re lucky enough to be able to see some of these amazing frogs in the vivarium, you won’t see this dark colouration as they only change colour at night. Like many tree frogs, the lemur leaf frog is nocturnal, and so to see this colour change myself I have been photographing the frogs in a specially prepared tank overnight. I’ve made the pictures for one night into a short video so hopefully you can see both how active these frogs can be, and how dramatically they change colour.

Although the video looks bright, the room in which they are housed was actually very dark, and this video has been assembled from individuals pictures taken with a flash, once every ten minutes. At the end of the video, you can see how their body clock knows that it is morning again, and they all retreat back to the leaves and revert to their original pale green colour.


 Chris Blount: New Research Project            Chris Blount: Research update 

Fabulous frogs, coming soon..

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Sir David Attenbrough with Splendid leaf Frog at Manchester Museum (c) Andrew Gray

If you’re interested in watching the latest offering from Sir David Attenborough, filmed with him in our Vivarium here at the Manchester Museum, here is a related link associated with the programme and our Lemur Leaf Frog conservation project:

BBC 2, Natural World 


Fabulous Frogs will be transmitted on BBC 2, Thursday 28th August at 9.00pm.

Amphibian Conservation in Action

Lemur Leaf frog at Manchester Museum (c) A Gray, courtesy of Sir David Attenborough

Project Lemur Frog is a model amphibian conservation project and an international collaboration of  institutions and individuals committed to helping secure the future of the Critically Endangered Lemur Leaf Frog. The holistic approach used includes research, public engagement and educational activities, and directly conserving the species through direct in-situ and ex-situ action:

Research: Latest genetic research facilitating the first genetically informed professional amphibian breeding programme in the world. 

Get involved: Sponsor your own Lemur Leaf Frog in support of Project Lemur Frog

Ex-situ Conservation: Amphibian Ark Update

In-situ Conservation: Habitat Restoration

Questions Answered: Lemur Frog Project Interview