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Metamorphosing Monkeys


First day out of the water (Phyllomedusa trinitatis) © Matthew O’Donnell

Over the past few months we have been rearing a group of Trinidadian monkey frog tadpoles (Phyllomedusa trinitatis), some of which have now begun to climb out of their aquarium and begin their next chapter as land dwelling frogs. This transformation is known as metamorphosis and represents a huge change for these bold little explorers, leaving their watery home behind for the harsh environment of dry land.


This froglet (Phyllomedusa trinitatis) has started to absorb its tail © Matthew O’Donnell

These island dwelling tree frogs produce large clumps of frog spawn which they wrap up in leaves. These nests hang above ponds and protect the developing eggs from the drying effect of the sun, and any would be predators. Once the eggs have developed into tadpoles they drop into the pond below where they spend the next few months, feeding on varied diet of algae and invertebrates.


After absorbing its tail this froglet has turned bright green © Matthew O’Donnell

As they grow the tadpoles slowly begin to develop their characteristic tree frog legs, once all four limbs are strong enough the tadpoles will haul themselves out of the water into the vegetation surrounding their pond and find a nice spot to hide away whilst they complete their metamorphosis.


Whilst looking after our latest arrivals I took some quick pictures of this amazing transformation. We still have a good number of these tadpoles in our window display in the Vivarium, so there is still time to see them change before your very eyes!

Trinidadian Monkey Frog                                                            Leaf-Folding Frogs


Tadpole display in the Vivarium © Matthew O’Donnell

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