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Mannophryne project!

So hey guys, it’s George here, just wanting to give you all an update on how my project is going!

So, I’ve been spending the last few days collecting specimens and really narrowing down my study. What I’m looking at is the escape responses on the Mannophryne trinitatis frog, commonly known as the Trinidad Stream Frog. The past few expeditions to Trinidad have been looking into the behaviour of these little guys and I’m extending the work done previously.

To begin with I enlisted Tom to help me make this lovely Arena:Full set up

And I then started by collecting a few individuals from Lopinot Road and popping them in the Arena and watching their behaviour. Because I’m looking at the escape responses in reference to the use of shelters and learning, I really wanted to see the frogs exploring the arena and testing out the shelter and the other decoy rocks. Happily this is what the little guys did, some of them found the shelter that I had artistically made out of a rotten log some sticks and lots of wet leaves, and just stayed there but a few went in and out and hopped around the enclosure.

I carried out this pilot study a few times just to practise use of the camera as well as the arena and holding tanks and I really learned a lot. Mostly how to catch the little guys! I have never had to much trouble from tiny little animals! They are so fast and they tend to jump in random directions which makes collecting them very difficult! Luckily we found a nice stream in Caura Valley which tends to have a fair amount of frogs, males and females!

Since I’ve started to understand the behaviour a bit better I’ve  begun jumping  everyday! I am using three different arena set ups to look at the difference of responses involving a refuge as well as learning of habitat. To begin with the frogs are jumped individually with no refuge, this is done by putting them into the center spot and giving a stimulus from behind (a sharp tap of a stick) and filming which direction the frog jumps. Once each frog is jumped i have been putting the refuge into the arena and then doing the exact same thing.

We all then have a bit of a break and after dinner i usually go into the lab and spray the Arena with as much dechlorinised water as i can! I also tend to put a few rotting fruits in! Not that these little frogs eat the fruit, but they like the fruit flies generated. Usually i have around 4 frogs in the tank and the group is popped into the arena for 12 hours overnight for some exploring and learning (hopefully!) and in the morning i jump them a third time!

Hopefully i should be seeing some good results soon and I’ll be able to keep everyone updated on my progress!

Especially on the progress of finding a really good tapping stick! At the moment i am just borrowing the end of a bug catching net and I don’t think this can be a permanent feature! Hopefully I’ll find a good one out on my travels though!!

And for an ending photo, a female Manno!

– George x
Female Manno

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