Our field work in 2011 brought us back to a favorite areas of Chile…the region where the Chile Mountains False Toad lives. We are developing captive assurance colonies of this species at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago. We have also been monitoring a population in south-central Chile for emergent infectious amphibian disease. In addition, our research group just published a paper on this species:
Fenolio, D.B., A. Charrier, M.G. Levy, M.O. Fabry, M.S. Tirado, M.L. Crump., W.W. Lamar, & P.
Calderón. 2011. A review of the Chile Mountains False Toad, Telmatobufo venustus (Amphibia:
Anura: Calyptocephalellidae) with comments on its conservation status. Herpetological Review
Here are some images from our field work with these amazing and critically endangered frogs…
Late in 2011 our field team assembled again and went out to collect frogs for our assurance colonies at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago. Here are a few shots from that process…
We have been working in the field to collect specimens for captive assurance colonies. We have also been monitoring for emergent infectious disease. Here are a few shots from this field trip.
Spring has arrived in Chile and the Darwin’s Frogs in our breeding lab at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago have started breeding earlier than last year.
We certainly appreciate this great newspaper article in Chile!
We are thrilled to have had such a great article written about our recent success!
For the last few months, it’s been that time of year again. The frogs in the lab have been breeding. So far, this year has been a good year for reproductive output by the colony. We wanted to provide a few images of what we have been seeing in the lab…enjoy!
MUCH more to come…
Introducing a species into a place where it is not native is never a good idea. More times than not, the introduced species creates serious environmental problems. Often times, the problems are not things that could have easily been predicted. Native species often suffer after introductions. Introduced species may use native species as prey, they might out compete native species, or they may degrade some aspect of the habitat that ultimately hurts native species.
One introduction that threatens to pose serious problems in Chile is that of the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis). This aquatic species is native to Africa but has been introduced to areas around the world. Because these frogs do so well in aquaria, they have been used for human pregnancy testing, in genetics, developmental, and environmental toxicology labs, and they have been a staple in the pet trade. African Clawed Frog are voracious predators, eating any small aquatic animal that it can fit into their mouth. These frogs can produce potent skin toxins and can poison larger native species that try to eat them. Importantly, African Clawed Frogs carry but are not damaged by the disease, amphibian chytrid fungus. In carrying the disease on their skin, they can spread the disease to native species as they are moved around by humans. African Clawed Frogs are often kept as pets in aquariums. The problem is that when the pet owner changes the water, that water is infected with amphibian chytrid fungus. The water winds up in a local wetland and exposes native amphibians to the disease. Amphibian chytrid fungus has devastated amphibian communities around the globe. Moving African Clawed Frogs around, in the pet trade or otherwise, is risky and could seriously damage native amphibian populations.
With so much time in the field, we bump into all kinds of rare and infrequently seen amphibians. Here are a few of the recent encounters…