Bristol Aquarium has successfully bred over 20 endangered Phantasmal poison frogs (Epipedobates tricolor).
This is an important conservation breeding as their numbers are in decline in the wild. They grow around 2.5cm and are red/ brown in colour with yellow stripes.
In the wild the phantasmal gets its toxin from their diet, eating poisonous ants and insects. In an Aquarium setting however they are fed cultured live foods which do not carry toxins, interestingly therefore, captive bred frogs don’t carry toxins.
Josh Dance, Aquarist at Bristol Aquarium said: “Watching these tiny tadpoles grow has been fascinating. A clutch of eggs is laid on a flat leaf and the males will watch over the growing embryos until they are ready to hatch, at which point they carry them on their backs down to a body of water. This is where the tadpoles will slowly develop into tiny frogs.
“Many have begun growing legs now so it won’t be long until they are fully developed and will be on display for visitors to see!” Josh added.
The phantasmal poison frog is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN because of their decline in numbers in the wild. They are from a small area on the Andean slopes in central Ecuador, and live on the tropical forest floors near to streams and wetlands. Their main threats are pollution of waterways and habitat loss due to agricultural pressure.
Each individual has a different striped pattern similar to a fingerprint. If you listen carefully you can also sometimes hear the males, as they produce calls that resemble the songs of small birds.
The team at Bristol Aquarium work hard to conserve aquatic creatures by taking part in valuable research, teaming with local charities, breeding some species onsite and educating visitors about the importance of conservation and how they can help.
Bristol Aquarium is open 7days per week from 10am. The city centre attraction is home to hundreds of different species from across the globe including sharks, rays, seahorses, pufferfish and more.