Showing posts from August, 2011

Dante and One of our Garden Bullfrogs

Dante Fenolio, Amphibian Conservation Scientist here at the Garden, might also be called "The Frog Whisperer' as he dazzled visitors this Sunday with his skill at calling a male Bullfrog | Lithobates catesbeianus over to him from the aquatic plants pond. Seeing is believing!

After he came over to Dante, Garden visitors were holding the friendly frog for photo opps.

The Garden's Darwins frog conservation work highlighted by the AZA!

The Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) published two articles this month highlighting the Darwin's frog | Rhinoderma darwinii conservation collaboration between the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the National Zoo of Chile.

The first one was in their monthly magazine, Connect (see below)

Also on their Blog: ZooExplorer

The Garden's Saturday Frog Feedings

Every Saturday morning @ 11,  we host a frog feeding and informal talk where visitors of all ages are encouraged to attend. We have an assortment of bugs to offer the frogs in each exhibit, and an Amphibian Discovery Cart with materials and information about frogs; including information regarding some of the problems these animals are facing and why they need conservation programs such as ours.

Most of the time, we get between 50 and 100 visitors during the event, and it's exciting to see so many amphibian enthusiasts!

I like to start the talk with the Poison frogs, specifically our Phyllobates exhibit 'Colombia's Terrible Trio' for a number of reasons. The first of which is that they are always hungry. The second reason is that these animals are not shy — one can generally spot all 6 from across the room. Furthermore, they are diurnal (active during daylight) which is not the typical activity pattern for a frog. All of these qualities make them excellent exhibit anima…

Species Spotlight: Rocket frogs

For at least the past few weeks, the Rocket frogs | Colostethus pratti have been putting on quite a show in our 'Frogs of Panama' exhibit. Originally, we introduced 9 Rocket frogs in the display, and the have subsequently bred so many times, it is next to impossible to get an accurate count now. I saw multiple age classes of these frogs last weekend. They are already the smallest species in this exhibit, so the froglets are quite tiny.
Multiple egg clutches can be seen in the exhibit as well, if you look closely. I typically see the eggs laid on horizontally oriented leaves. Often, these egg clutches are guarded by the male. Once the eggs hatch, he will transport them on his back to water so they can develop aquatically into froglets. This egg guarding and tadpole transportation behavior is common in frogs in the family dendrobatidae (Poison frogs). Though frogs of the genus Colostethus are technically Poison frogs, they are among some of the least toxic, which may be indicated…

Species Spotlights: Poison frogs and Glass frogs

Frogs are among the most diverse groups of vertebrates. They occur globally from the tropics to the sub-arctic regions, and in just about every conceivable habitat, one can find a frog species that has specialized to live there. Despite this diversity, it is generally easy to tell a frog from any other type of animal. Thanks, in part, to the absence of a tail like most other critters.

Due to the range of unique requirements these habitats demand of frogs, each species has specialized behaviors and/or characters and some of these specializations are quite spectacular.

Today, we are featuring two species which possess unique, prominent physical attributes. First, and one of the author's favorites is the Phantasmal poison frog | Epipidobates tricolor, which has been living, breeding, singing and hopping around the Fuqua Conservatory since 1995. Most poison frogs (family: dendrobatidae) have brilliant colors, which almost make them look fake. This trait is described as aposematic colo…

Our second batch of Gopher froglets released!

Our second batch of Gopher frog | Lithobates capito metamorphs raised at the Garden has been released in South Georgia. This totals close to 500 Gopher frogs released from Atlanta Botanical Garden so far this year!

Eleutherodactylus johnstonei | Whisting tree frog calling

As mentioned in the previous post, there was a low pressure system moving through central Georgia this weekend and the frogs responded. I was delighted to see and hear all 3 species of Eleutherodactylus (direct developing) frogs in the conservatory today: the Coqui | Eleutherodactylus coqui, the Whistling tree frog | E. johnstonei and the Greenhouse frog | E. planirostis. Here is a video clip of a Whistling tree frog calling in the conservatory.

Frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus are direct developing, which means they do not have a free swimming larval stage (tadpole) as most frogs do. Eggs are laid in moist places such as bromeliad axils and tiny frogs emerge from the eggs once development is complete.

Activity in the Panama exhibit

The low pressure system moving through Atlanta this weekend seems to have inspired activity in our frog exhibits (and the conservatory too!)The 'Frogs of Panama' exhibit in particular offered many exciting behavior displays, and I was fortunate enough to get some pictures.

"Ranita de Darwin" Zoológico Nacional


2011 International Herpetological Symposium

Dr. Fenolio presented a talk on the Atlanta Botanical Garden's work in Chile with Darwin's Frogs at the 2011 International Herpetological Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas.  Louie Porras (left) is a Costa Rican born herpetologist and long time friend of Fenolio.  Jim Stout (right) often times works with Fenolio in the field, including a recent trip to China and Thailand.

Fernbank Museum's Reptile Day

"This past Saturday I attended the Fernbank Museum's Reptile Day.  This event has been going on for several years and is a great opportunity to teach the public about the diversity and importance of reptiles and amphibians.  Over 2,500 enthusiastic people attended the five hour event. It was a great day, and despite the fact that I didn't bring any reptiles, people were very interested in our amphibians, especially the different stages of Gopher Frog tadpoles I was able to bring along.  Surprisingly, our Marbled Salamander was the star of the day.  She stayed out and in full view for the entire day.  The folks at Fernbank Museum put on a great event and I look forward to attending again next year!  Plus, how on earth could I resist the opportunity to talk about amphibians while standing under two of the world's largest dinosaurs?" — Robert Hill