Provision of egg-laying sites for captive breeding of the endangered Fijian ground frog Platymantis vitianus, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
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To try and stimulate breeding of the endangered Fijian ground frog Platymantis vitianus (n=10) in captivity, a purpose-built outdoor enclosure was built and an environment that mimicked their natural habitat created within it. We incorporated natural structures as potential P.vitianus egg laying sites, including rotting logs and hollow giant bamboo Piper aduncum stems. A range of other types of natural substrates e.g. coconut husks, rocks and decaying leaf litter, were also added thus the frogs could choose between various potential egg-laying sites and refugia. All material was sterilized in an autoclave prior to being installed in the enclosure. Pots containing native plants were also added. Nocturnal frog activity was recorded in the enclosure using digital video surveillance cameras; several male and female frogs were observed in or near potential egg-laying sites throughout much of the assumed wet-season breeding period, and on the 21 December 2006 and 7 January 2007, single clutches of P.vitianus eggs were located. The December clutch was situated underneath a moist rotting log and the January clutch inside a bamboo stem lined with soil. The frogs probably created nest scrapes amongst the leaf litter and soil within these egglaying sites while mating. It is not known if these egg-laying sites provided ideal egg-laying conditions, but they were used successfully by two pairs of frogs.
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Conservation and Biodiversity