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Crab-eating Frog (Fejervarya cancrivora)

photo by W.A. Djatmiko

Common Name: Crab-eating Frog, Mangrove Frog, Asian Brackish Frog, and Crab-eating Grassfrog
Scientific Name: Fejervarya cancrivora
Family: Dicroglossidae – Forked Tongued Frog family
Locations:  Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Introduced Locations: Guam and Papua New Guinea
Size: 3.1 inches (80 mm) for females, 2.75 inches (70 mm) for males

The Crab-eating Frog is thought to be the most salt tolerant amphibians in the entire world. They are able to survive in brackish waters for extended periods of time and briefly survive swimming in salt water. With this species talent, they are able to feast upon crabs and other small crustaceans, hence their name. They are found along the shorelines, mangrove forests, and inland wetlands.

Reproduction for the frogs is pretty standard. They can breed year round but most activity is at the start of the wet season. At the start, the males will call for the females from a water body. Once the female arrives, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus positiion. Then, female will lay her eggs and the male will then fertilize them. Neither parent will provide any parental care for the offspring. The eggs will hatch into tadpoles that transform later into frogs.

The Crab-Eating Frog is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as Least Concern of becoming Extinct. The frog has a wide range and is plentiful throughout it. They especially thrive in rice paddy fields. Potential threats to the survive of the frogs is the habitat destruction and over harvesting the frogs for food.

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Family Friday

Craugastoridae – Fleshbelly Frogs

Suborder: Neobatrachia
Number of Genera: 4*
Number of Species: 100~ or 800~*

Craigastoridae is a family of direct developing frogs from the southern United States all the way down to South America. Some sources combine the family Craugastoridae and Strabomantidae into one single family so exact number of genera and species depends on sources and who you ask. We need to better study the amphibians all over the world.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)

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Chinese Giant Salamander by ZSL

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Common Name: Chinese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias davidianus
Family: Cryptobranchidae– Giant Salamander family
Location: China
Introduced Locations: Taiwan and Japan
Size: 5.9 feet or 180 cm

The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest salamander and amphibian in the world. It is considered a living fossil and is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There are known records of the salamander living as long as 60 years but there are stories of them living over 200 years. They are primarily nocturnal but they are known to emerge during the day during breeding season.

A new study showed that the Chinese Giant Salamander is at least 5 different species and as many as 8.  Sadly, all of the new species are in bad shape conservation wise. Amphibiaweb and Amphibian Species of the World hasn’t recognized the distinct species so I’m not going to either until they have.

The breeding season for the salamanders is thought to be in August or September. For breeding, the female salamanders lays her eggs in an underwater cavity. The male salamander fertilizes the eggs and then guard the eggs until they hatch.  It takes the eggs almost two months to hatch. The new born salamanders take around 5 to 6 years to reach sexual maturity.

The Chinese Giant Salamander is moving fast to becoming extinct. Most of their habitat has been destroyed and they are illegally taken for medicine and food. The streams that they live in have also been polluted. They needs help before its too late.

Articles

The Hate on Keeping Reptiles and Amphibians as Pets

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Pet owners of reptiles and amphibians are often criticized for their love of their animals. TV and movies often show people who own herps (reptiles and amphibians) as weird and strange. Articles are often posted about how reptiles and amphibians shouldn’t be kept as pets.  There’s so much hate and dislike for these wonderful creatures. I’m going to go over some of the benefits of owning herps.

Herps, especially snakes, are often feared and hated by the general public. This hate and fear can have serious consequences for the animals. There are festivals where they round up snakes and kill them. People try to kill all the snakes that they encounter which is the #1 cause of being bitten in the United States. Herp owners often try to change this attitude. Many owners are part of groups that do public events to try to show the positive signs of herps and to change people’s mind.

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Having a pet herp can also inspire people to help animals. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I received some fire bellied toads. After feeding them and watching them, I learned what I wanted to do: save frogs. Many other scientists and conservationists have similar stories.

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Skylar, one of the original Fire Bellied Toads

Reptiles can be therapy animals and better than cats or dogs for some people. Reptiles don’t show emotions, like cats or dogs, which is better for some people. Some people are also allergic to cats and dogs but not reptiles. Reptiles are also less active than a dog so you don’t have to take it on a walk.

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Bearded Dragons are great therapy animals

One common arguments that people make against having a herp as a pet is that they are a common invasive species. Common herp pets such as Burmese Pythons, Cane Toads, and tegus are all invasive species in Florida (and elsewhere). These species are to blame for problems but are they worse than more common pets? It is estimated that cats kill over a million birds per day in Australia. That is an insane number for one country. Cats are maybe one of the worst mammal invasive species on the planet. Dogs are also considered an invasive species. Fish are huge problems. People release their fish from their aquariums all the time. Goldfish are found in many water bodies around the world now and these fish can grow BIG. There are more examples but I think I made my point. I don’t think we should blame herps when it’s all pets that are invasive.

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DO NOT RELEASE YOUR GOLD FISH

I will admit, there are problems with the herp pet trade. Some breeders keep their animals in terrible conditions. Some stores sell malnourished or sick animals. Animals are removed from the wild, even ones that are low in numbers. These imported animals could be spreading diseases such as Chytrid Fungus. We need to fix these problems. Better regulations need to be put in place.