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Rainforests of the World 

May 27, 2010

Making Babies


Photo by: Allan Jan

Cichlids are some of the most charismatic and beautiful freshwater fish, with well over 1,000 species spread over 5 continents. One aspect that makes cichlids so special is the evolution of parental care. The severums in the Flooded Forest have been busy recently – pairing up, guarding territory, and cleaning that territory. All this preparation eventually leads to spawning activity and then possibly hundreds of fry. Look carefully in the tank and you may see severum pairs foraging with their fry. The parents have their work cut out for them, living in a tank surrounded with predators. Many fry will be eaten, but the survivors are a testament to the aggression cichlid parents display.

baby severum

Photo by: Allan Jan

Filed under: Fish — rainforest @ 1:47 pm

May 22, 2010

Baby Frogs!

The frogs in our rainforest have been very hoppy as of late. We have been fortunate to breed several species that are on exhibit in the rainforest. Most of our breeding groups are kept in our back of house areas. The reason for this is that frog breeding is easiest to encourage in an area that we have total control of. Environmental parameters like dry/wet cycles, hot/cold cycles, humidity changes etc. are adjusted to get our frogs going.

One of our favorite frog species is the Asian Horned Frog (Megophrys nasuta). The frog is called “horned” because of their supraciliary projections (cool science word for the long tips of skin over the eye brows and extending beyond the nose). These projections help the frog blend in with leaves and debris on the forest floor where it lives. Here is a picture of our Asian Horned frogs:

Megophrys nasuta

Photo copyright of: Brian Freiermuth

We got these frogs to reproduce by providing a long misting cycle after some minor conditioning. It is easy to get this species to engage in amplexus (the typical frog grasping behavior where the male rides around on the female’s back) but successful egg laying and fertilization is more difficult. We were fortunate to get this to happen. The result was thousands of surface feeding tadpoles:

Megophrys nasuta tadpoles

Photo copyright of: Brian Freiermuth

It can take up to 18 months before Asian Horned Frog tadpoles began to absorb their tails and develop limbs. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait that long to see this process:

tail absorbtion, limb development

Photo copyright of: Brian Freiermuth

tail absorbtion, limb development

Photo copyright of: Brian Freiermuth

While our remaining tadpoles and juvenile Asian Horned Frogs are being raised in our back of house areas, our adult Asian Horned Frogs can be seen on exhibit on the Borneo level. They share their display with the Wagler’s Pit Viper on the Borneo level of our Rainforest Dome, and they would love it if you would st-HOP by!

Filed under: Herpetiles — rainforest @ 3:40 pm

May 10, 2010


On any given visit, you may find eggs in the exhibit laid by our Kuhl’s Flying Geckoes (Ptychozoon kuhli.) In the past they never hatched so the assumption was that they were either infertile or, more likely, the conditions in the exhibit were not right for incubation…
Until one day we found a baby in there. He is being raised behind the scenes and when he gets big enough he will make his debut to the public. Until then, here are some pictures.
baby flying gecko 2

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 4

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 1

Photo by: Rachael Tom

baby flying gecko 3

Photo by: Rachael Tom

In the pictures above you can see many of the adaptations flying geckoes have that help them survive. They are very well camouflaged and like other geckoes, have intricate toe pads that help them stick to most any surface. In addition, they have skin flaps on the sides of their bodies, webbed digits, and a flattened tail- all of which help them to glide through the air.

Filed under: Reptiles — vultures are friendly @ 12:24 pm

May 6, 2010

Meet Fred & a few other happenings

One of the great joys of working in the rainforest exhibit here at the Academy is there are some really neat species plus there are always new things happening.

I’d like to introduce Fred, our bird’s nest Anthurium (Anthurium spp). Anthuriums are a wide-spread neotropical genera that have adapted to lots of niches, from epiphytic to terrestrial. There are some Anthuriums that are common in the horticulture industry. Fred is one of my favorite plant specimens in our exhibit, due to its unique structure and size. Fred is in a planter on the Costa Rica level (3rd floor) of the rainforest…come check it out on your next visit!

Fred the Anthurium

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Fred II

Photo by: Rachael Tom

We have two new additions to our bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) population. One of our two pairs has recently fledged two offspring. After an incubation of about two weeks and another two weeks in their nest before they flew out, the little birds are now exploring their environment. Check out this great photo of one of the parents (on the left) feeding a fledgling.


Photo by: Rachael Tom

We also have an opal-rumped tanager (Tangara velia) incubating two eggs on her nest. Opal-rumped tanagers are one of the twelve species of passerine birds we have in our rainforest here at the Academy. Here she is sitting on her nest…she should be sitting tight for another 10 days.

opal rump

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Filed under: Birds,Plants — rainforest1 @ 2:59 pm

The Rainforest Team


Academy biologists share the inside scoop on the Academy's 'Rainforest of the World' exhibit.

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