Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pierson Hill and FFWCC partners find and collect over 530 Frosted Flatwoods Salamander eggs this season

Pierson Hill, Biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission displaying 12 egg clutches of many he and his team saved from desiccation in the field. Apalachicola NF did not receive the necessary seasonal rainfall to inundate the eggs naturally, so the eggs were found, collected and most will be part of an experimental assisted-metamorphosis program at ANF. Almost 100 eggs were transported to the Amphibian Foundation for rearing into the captive breeding program

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Can you tell what this is?

via Instagram

Since I met my first Pipa pipa (Suriname Toad) I have been completely enamored with this species. Their huge flat bodies, their bizarre courting, breeding and reproductive behavior, the fact that tiny Pipas pop out of mom’s back — the list goes on and on — Right down to the wackadoodle star-shaped fingertip lobes on each of the creepy fingers.

Using SEM, one can see that each lobe of the star-shaped lobes branches out into 4 more star-shaped lobes — and so on, and so on — maximizing the surface area for still yet unknown reasons. They definitely use their fingers to detect prey — you can observe them rooting around in the substrate locating food — but are there receptors at the ends of these lobes? Are they chemoreceptive? Gustatory? Electroreceptive? … fascinating.

Pipids lack tongues and teeth! They capture and transport prey through a mechanism called suction feeding. As the name implies, suction feeders engulf prey with the surrounding water and must expel the water back out of their mouth after the prey is consumed. It is fascinating to watch. Yes, I just used the word fascinating twice. As part of our request to develop our captive breeding collection, as well as our education and outreach collections, many fine and established reptile stores, private breeders and hobbyists have donated animals to the Amphibian Foundation such as Reigning Reptiles and Rainbows by Design. John Wiseman (of Rainbows by Design) was able to elicit this donation of a pair of Pipas.

The male has been calling for a few days now. I love their call — It sounds like someone gently tapping a quarter on the side of the aquarium. Maybe this summer, we will take a crack at breeding them in our outdoor mesocosms! The Amphibian Foundation is still setting up our research and education labs and needs help! We are still looking to increase our membership base. Memberships support the foundation including our conservation initiatives and can be made in any amount - in your name or you can give the gift of membership to another. #Pipapipa #SurinameToad #AmphibianFoundation #TheAmphibianFoundation

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

'The Burrow' @ Blue Heron has a new friend! An Axolotl

Children and campers at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve have been thrilled with a new addition from The Amphibian Foundation — an Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) named Armie!
An axolotl is a type of salamander from Central America. They are nearly extinct in the wild, but are thriving in captive collections. Some of them are brown speckled (wild type). Others, like the one pictured here are leucistic (or lacking much of the pigment). There are many interesting things about axolotls (other than the inherent coolness about being a salamander).

As you can see from the picture, Armie's left arm is backwards. He grew up that way, but axolotls can regrow their limbs! If Armie's deformation occured by an injury or trauma during early development, then there is a good chance his arm would grow back properly if it was removed. However, if his arm is backwards due to genetic mutation, then it would most likely regrow exactly as it is. Either way, we are not going to try that experiment in The Burrow, but it is neat to think about.

Another incredible thing about axolotls, is that they never fully metamorphose. The stay in their larval form throughout their lives. That might not seem strange to you, but it would be the equivalent of a tadpole never metamorphosing into a frog, but instead becoming an adult tadpole! Instead of metamorphosis, axolotls undergo paedomorphosis - the retention of juvenile characters into adulthood.

@Regrann from @pipatoes - Tune in tomorrow morning on Atlanta's NPR station to learn about the Amphibian Foundation (6:45 & 8:45 am and 4:44pm) - #regrann

via Instagram

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reigning Reptiles Rules! The newest partner of The Amphibian Foundation

Reigning Reptiles in Buford led (and owned) by Cyndi Moore is our newest partner and a huge supporter of The Amphibian Foundation. Besides being the only legit reptile shop in the greater Atlanta area, today they donated a large number of cool, rare, unique and impressive reptiles and amphibians for both our captive breeding and educational programs.

Here is a beautiful and sweet Argentine Boa, Boa contrictor occidentalis donated by Reigning Reptiles on the Amphibian Foundation's logo of Anthony shirt.
The exterior of Reigning Reptiles is awesome!
Cyndi, owner of Reigning Reptiles spending some quality time with 'Princess' a glorious Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) that was donated to The Amphibian Foundation. Princess will be a wonderful ambassador for amphibian conservation.
Giant Leaf-tail Gecko - an incredible species I had never seen before today at Reigning Reptiles. This animal was not for sale.
Crystal, VP of The Amphibian Foundation holding our new Belem Brazil Red-tail Boa, Boa constrictor constrictor.

Toad Party! Crystal and an extra cool Anthony holding some of the larger toad species, Rhinella marina and Anaxyrus alvarius

Crystal holding the Argentine Boa - Ollie

2 respectably sized toad species, the Colorado River Toad (left) and the Suriname Cane or Marine Toad (right)

Smooching the chompers of a relatively friendly Tokay Gecko, Gecko gekko

Crystal and the Extreme Tangerine Milk Snake, which Anthony named Zippy

Anthony and our new female Bearded Dragon - Alex, after Tess and Matt's Bearded Dragon by the same name that we babysat when they went on their honeymoon.

Anthony and the Belem Brazil Boa Constrictor - Matilda

Princess. That's all you have to say.

Anthony with 2 Colorado River Toads

Anthony with the Toad-head Turtle (Phrynops/Mesoclemmys sp.)

We had to show off our toads with our wonderful neighbor, Sheryl :) #ToadHug

Three sets of chompers! To blend in, Nooch had a Jolly Rancher to turn his tongue blue.