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Quite a Splendid Tadpole

I would like to share with you about a special frog that’s very close to my heart..

Cruziohyla calcarifer, the original Splendid Leaf Frog, which originates from Ecuador was first discovered almost 120 years ago – It’s a species that has remained extremely rare and very difficult to study in the wild. I first saw and read about it in an animal encyclopaedia when I was about 7 years old, and I was lucky enough to first come across it in Ecuador about 20 years ago thanks to Morley Reid, Luis Coloma and Santiago Ron. Only approximately 50 adult specimens have been found since it was first described and almost nothing has been known of the frogs’ breeding biology. Although somewhat confused with that of C. sylviae, to date the tadpole of the true C. calcarifer has never been described.

However, following detailed research and the first captive breeding of the species in captivity we are able to detail the species’ breeding biology and tadpole for the very first time. As such, it gives me great pleasure to share with you the resulting paper published in the British Herpetological Society’s Journal of Herpetology.

The work has been good to focus on during lockdown and represents a collaboration between myself and Konstantin Taupp, and also Loic Denes from the Paris Zoo, who’s captive work with other species in this genus is well recognised. The support and genetic work of Franziska Elsner-Gearing from the University of Manchester’s faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has been instrumental, and another top contributor from Manchester, David Bewick, kindly provided accompanying illustrations. I would sincerely like to thank them all for their highly valued contribution to this significant herpetological description.

DESCRIPTION OF THE TADPOLE OF CRUZIOHYLA CALCARIFER

THE BRITISH HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY

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