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Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article for information on other aspects of breeding the White’s treefrog (Litoria infrafrenata): distinguishing the sexes, preparation for breeding and egg-laying.

The Tadpoles
At 80-85 F, White’s treefrog eggs will begin to hatch in 24-40 hours. The tadpoles remain largely inactive for the first 1-3 days, during which time they should not be fed. Once they begin moving about, food should always be available.

While some have raised White’s treefrog tadpoles on simpler diets, I have been most successful when using a variety of food items. In some cases, tadpoles raised on 1-2 foods develop normally, but the froglets expire within a month or two of transforming. I feed White’s treefrog tadpoles tropical fish flakes, algae wafers, and kale, romaine, dandelion and other greens that have soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or so.

Well-fed tadpoles will transform within a month or so of hatching. Some will invariably lag behind, and may remain within the tadpole stage for an additional 4-6 weeks.

The tadpole rearing tank should be well-stocked with live floating plants such as water lettuce, water hyacinth and pothos, and lit by a Reptisun 2.0 bulb (please see Part I of this article). The plants, and a gently sloping reptile basking platform will provide the metamorphs with easy egress from the water.

The Young Frogs (Metamorphs)
Rearing a large number of froglets can be quite a challenge. Overcrowding, especially in situations of limited air flow, rapidly leads to highly contagious fungal infections of the skin. Screen cages  provided with numerous perching sites make ideal rearing enclosures.

Young White’s treefrogs usually feed vigorously, taking ¼ inch crickets, small waxworms, roach nymphs and similarly sized insects. If you are raising a large number of frogs, consider culturing flightless houseflies (available via biological supply houses). These insects are ideally sized, readily digestible and reproduce rapidly. The Zoo Med Bug Napper Insect Trap  can be employed to help provide the frogs with important dietary variety in the form of wild-caught insects.

All insects offered the frogs should be powdered with vitamin/mineral supplements  for the first few months following transformation.

The White Lipped or Indonesian Giant Green Treefrog (Litoria infrafrenata)
Native to extreme northeastern Australia, New Guinea, Timor and the Solomon Islands, this striking relative of the White’s treefrog inhabits swamps, rainforests, farms and suburban yards. It is the world’s largest treefrog, reaching a snout-vent length of nearly 6 inches.

White-lipped treefrogs tend to be high strung, and do not take well to handling. They should be housed in a large, well-planted terrarium provisioned with numerous perches and arboreal hideaways. This frog is less cold-tolerant than its plucky relative; ambient temperatures of 78-82 F by day and 74-76 F by night suit it well.

White lipped treefrogs may be bred as has been described for White’s treefrogs, but during the cooling-off period temperatures should be kept at 70 F during the night, and 74 F during the day.

Dietary variety for both adult white-lipped treefrogs and their tadpoles seems to be of even greater importance than is the case for other frogs. The metamorphs invariably develop skin problems if crowded or kept without adequate air circulation.

Further Reading
You can read more about the natural history and captive care of the white-lipped treefrog on the web site of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by PicTrans.

Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 1

Since their arrival in the US in the early 1980’s, White’s treefrogs (Litoria caerulea) have become one of the most popularly kept of all frogs.  Although longevities of 25 years are known, captive breeding remains surprisingly uncommon.  The white-lipped treefrog (Litoria infrafrenata), a large, attractive relative, is also infrequently bred by hobbyists.  Considering how little we know about amphibian reproduction, and the precarious state of many species, I suggest that interested frog-keepers hone their breeding skills on the relatively robust White’s treefrog.

Distinguishing the Sexes

White’s treefrogs reach sexual maturity by age 2.  Mature males are smaller than females, have loose, slightly dark skin about their throats and, when in breeding condition, sport thickened nuptial pads (used to grasp females during amplexus) on their thumbs.  Only the males call.

The Dormancy Period

A cooling off period, preferably in late winter, is critical to breeding success. Cease feeding the frogs 7-10 days prior to the cooling period and place them into an aquarium furnished with a substrate of moist sphagnum moss and cork bark shelters.

Gradually reduce the temperature to 65 F during the night (a basement is ideal) and 68 F during the day (use a small incandescent bulb to raise the temperature) and maintain this schedule for 4 weeks.  Thereafter, hold the temperature at 65 F round-the-clock for an additional 2 weeks.  The terrarium should be kept in the dark throughout this time, and the frogs should not be fed.

Preparing the Frogs for Breeding

After the 6 week “winter”, warm the frogs to 80 F over a 2 week period, and feed them heavily for 3-4 weeks.  Novel prey animals, such as wild-caught or canned insects, should be offered at this time.

Thereafter, move the frogs into an aquarium filled with 4 inches water and provisioned with live floating plants (i.e. water hyacinth, water lettuce, pothos) and basking platforms.  Use an aquarium heater  to warm the water to 82-85F, and add a florescent bulb to encourage plant and algae growth.  I recommend the Reptisun 2.0  bulb, as its UVB output is ideal for amphibians and plants…avoid strong reptile UVB bulbs.

Using a small submersible water pump, create artificial rain by pumping water into a perforated plastic container or PVC tube placed on the terrarium’s screen cover.  Allow the “rain” to fall for 6-8 hours nightly, beginning at dusk.  This step is vital in inducing spawning, and will usually result in reproduction within a week or so.

The Eggs

If all goes well, you will one morning find yourself in possession of thousands of eggs.  It is wise to plan ahead and arrange for friends or nature centers to take some of the eggs, as crowded conditions can cause the loss of the entire clutch.  Remove the adults and install an air pump driven sponge filter that provides mild water circulation.

In contrast to what is commonly recommended for some other frogs, I suggest raising White’s treefrog tadpoles in plant and algae filled aquariums as opposed to bare, sterile containers.  I have even added green pond water to several tanks with good results.




Further Reading

You can read about White’s treefrog breeding in the wild, and hear recordings of the males’ calls, at http://magneticisland.s4space.com.au/L.caerulea.html.

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