Breeding Boost For Critically Endangered Frog

Golden Mantella frog at Deep Sea World

A Critically Endangered species of frog has bred successfully at Deep Sea World, Scotland’s national aquarium.

The golden mantella frogs are part of a pioneering captive breeding programme for the endangered amphibians at the North Queensferry aquarium.  Now keepers have an anxious wait to see how many of the eggs will develop in to tadpoles.

Deep Sea World’s Zoological Manager Chris Smith, said: “We have been looking after a group of seven adult frogs here for the past eight years and this is only the second time they have bred.

“The adult frogs are totally land-based and don’t have webbed feet. In the wild the eggs are laid on the forest floor and the tadpoles have to find their own way to the water.

“If all goes well the eggs will metamorphose in to tadpoles over the next few weeks and then we’ll have another six to eight week wait before they start to change into their adult form,” he added.

The golden mantella frog is only found in the high forests of Eastern Madagascar. As its name suggests, the frog is a bright golden colour and, although not toxic, it is thought the frog may mimic the vivid colouration of poison frogs to fool would-be predators.

Unlike some species of frog the golden mantella is not a great parent and once the eggs have been laid they tend to leave them to fend for themselves.

They live in small groups, known as ‘armies’ which usually contain twice as many males than females. The frogs are confined to a fragment of forest which is surrounded by farmland, and human settlements and is threatened by logging.

Critically Endangered is the highest risk category assigned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List for wild species. Critically Endangered means that a species’ numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations.

Golden mantella frog with eggs at Deep Sea World one PIC Irene Cebrian

Golden mantella eggs with frog in background at Deep Sea World PIC Irene Cebrian

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