Answer on Monday.
Friday, August 31, 2007
And they did.
Now I know this is no less than the level of service we should reasonably expect, but hey - how many places give you reliable service like that these days?
So I say unto you: shop at livefoods.co.uk
Thursday, August 30, 2007
All new vivaria need time to grow in and look their best, but these photos that Graham sent me of his new vivs look great.
Good job Graham, and I'm pleased your family likes the frogs too!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Scientists studied fungus samples taken from mountain yellow-tailed frogs (Rana muscosa) from lakes in the Sierra Nevada. They found that the samples were genetically very similar, and also very similar to samples from other parts of the world, suggesting the fungus has spread globally only recently.
However, the team did find slight genetic differences in samples from different lakes. Researchers had thought that the fungus reproduces only asexually, but the genetic evidence suggests that DNA is recombining – the fungus is starting to evolve. Recombination of DNA means sexual reproduction and, based on the life cycles of related fungi, this is likely to involve the creation of fungal spores. So far the team hasn't found any B. dendrobatidis spores, either in the wild or the lab. But for some related fungi, sexual reproduction, and hence spore production, is triggered only in certain circumstances such as when a water source dries up. The presence of resistant spores helps explain the global spread of the disease and means the fungus can survive for long periods in areas where the frog population has been vastly reduced.
Population genetics of the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
PNAS USA Aug 10 2007.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I've written here before about breeding Neurergus kaiseri, the Emperor Spotted Newt (see Related Posts), but not recently, so it's time for an update. Most of the larvae have now metamorphosed and are housed in plastic boxes as you can see in the video. The boxes have tight-fitting lids but are well ventilated, and a stack of corkbark provides drier areas which they like to spend most of their time resting in. However, they do use the water dish frequently at night when they move about.
They are presently feeding on Drosophila funebris, white worms, live bloodworms, white woodlice, lesser waxmoth larvae and very small earthworms. I am sure they would adapt to taking very small crickets (although I have not tried this food personally).
Now that they have stabilized after metamorphosis and are growing well, I will soon be distributing groups to experienced keepers, but please don't contact me asking for some - they are all accounted for.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
I went out to photograph a grass snake, which I'd seen earlier in the day. On creeping up on the location I was amazed to see the grass snake attempting to swallow this toad. I froze. The snake froze. For a moment I thought hunger would win, but moments later the snake unhooked her teeth and slowly slid into the grass. The toad was still alive and immediately adopted a defensive posture, standing on its toes and inflating its body to maximise his size. As you can see the toad has suffered a wound on his back, and I think that the white milky substance on the head is bufotoxin which contains the poison bufagin which the toad has defensively secreted. Unfortunately grass snakes are immune! The toad posed a while for photos then crawled away apparently relatively unharmed.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I needed to catch some juvenile D. tinctorius Patricia and some D. leucomelas first. Unlike some of the frogs I keep, these are usually among the easiest to catch, particularly the Patricias, which are often obliging enough to walk into the transfer cup! Yesterday, the frogs had other ideas.
I was balanced precariously on a ladder I need to reach a high vivarium and reaching down to put the frogs in a shipping container. As I opened the pot to add the second leucomelas, the first one surprised me by jumping out. As I nearly fell off the ladder, the other people present kept up a helpful commentary on the frog's progress, but then seeing how useless I am at catching escaped frogs, joined in a Keystone Cops style chase around the room. It's a shame we were all occupied chasing the frogs as if one of us had been free to video the chase, it would have been pretty funny to watch.
Eventually, the frog disappeared under an immovable piece of furniture, and so I reluctantly gave up the chase. Normally the advice would be to place a damp towel on the floor and hope the frogs finds it, but this frog was so small I was convinced it had no chance.
The drama wasn't over. I managed to catch the Dendrobates pumilio I needed to without any problems, but when it came to the Dendrobates amazonicus, three out of three frogs managed to escape, and the Keystone Cops were back in business.
After the other frogs wranglers had left, I went back to the DIY. The leucomelas had made it's break for freedom at noon. At 4pm I went into the frogroom and saw an object on the floor. I wasn't immediately obvious what it was, it was so covered in spiders webs and dust, but on picking it up I eventually worked out it was the missing frog. I gave it a few forensic pokes, but it was stiff and showed no sign of movement, so I sadly wrapped it in a paper towel and put it in the bin.
At 7pm I went back in the frogroom, and saw an object in the floor. Again, it was to dirty and covered with bits of rubbish and dust so that I didn't recognize it at first. It dawned on me that it was the leucomelas! This time, when touched, it moved - slightly. I washed the dirt off in a shallow water dish and put it in a box on a wet paper towel.
This morning, the frog is jumping around and eating springtails like nothing happened. I'll nurse it for a few days to make sure it's OK then put it back with it's siblings. The force is strong with this one!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Following European Courts of Justice judgments against the UK, ruling that the UK interpretation of the Habitats & Species directive was incorrect, a new law is being introduced as of 21st August 2007. The law is The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007 No. 1843).
This makes it a criminal offence to possess or trade in wild-caught animals of the species listed in Annex IV of the EC Habitats & Species Directive. Penalties are up to 6 months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5000.
Specimens 'lawfully taken from the wild' are exempt from this offence. This applies to specimens taken outside the EC, taken before the Habitat & Species Directive came into effect on 10 June 1994, or taken from a member state before it became an EC member state. They must also have been taken legally according to the law of the state concerned. For both these exemptions, the onus is on the person accused of an offence to prove that their animals were 'lawfully taken' or captive bred.
Anyone currently keeping animals covered by these regulations will have to apply to Natural England for a licence to continue keeping them. Defra have stated that there will be a three month grace period after the regulations come into force, to give people time to apply for licences. More info from Defra. The amphibian species concerned are:
Mertensiella luschani (Salamandra luschani)
Triturus carnifex (Triturus cristatus carnifex)
Triturus cristatus (Triturus cristatus cristatus)
Triturus karelinii (Triturus cristatus karelinii)
Triturus vulgaris ampelensis
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) ambrosii
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) flavus
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) genei
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) imperialis
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) strinatii (Hydromantes (Speleomantes) italicus)
Hydromantes (Speleomantes) supramontes
Discoglossus galganoi (including Discoglossus "jeanneae")
Thursday, August 09, 2007
|I've recently had a limited degree of success in reducing the Nemertean populations in contaminated vivaria by adding the woodlouse Oniscus asellus to the vivarium at the rate of approximately one per five litres of vivarium space. This reduces but does not eliminate the Nemerteans, presumably because the woodlice consume the eggs or young worms. The effect wanes with time as Oniscus asellus does not seem to like wet vivaria and any offspring produced are consumed by frogs or Nemerteans, so the population is not sustained at the necessary level for control.|
Oh well, it's a start.