Here you will find some frog related material. If the existance of this section seems confusing, you should probarbly take a look at the "interests" part of the me page.

If you are not a fellow herptile enthusiast I must warn you that the information here is very narrow, focusing mainly on the keeping and husbandry of tropical frogs in captivity. Well, in fact even an inveterate "frogger" will find this page to be rather selective in its material as I intend to exclude general information already available elsewere on the web and only include personal experiences and opinions.

The frog to the right is one of my Dendrobates tinctorius "white" or "oyapok" morph (#8 in the Color Morph Guide).


Humpbacked Flies

I recently found a fly species at a local pet store that I wasn't familiar with. The shopkeeper said they were Drosophila hydei but I've cultured that species for a while and this was not it. It had evidently been D. hydei in the jar once though, as I could see a lot of those characteristic "long horned" pupae shells on the walls. The jar was also infested with a tiny ant species that seemed interesting as well for someone always on the look out for alternative frog food. The shopkeeper said I could have the culture so I brought it home. The ant turned out to be the dreaded Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) which is known to feed on just about any organic matter, including shoe polish, not inside the freezer (thanks Lars Österdahl for the ID and info).

The fly species remained unidentified for some weeks but was doing fine and bred well in my usual fruitfly medium. At first I thought it was another Drosophila species but, as time went by and I got to study the whole lifecycle, I became increasingly sceptical. I finally came in contact with diptera expert Thomas Pape working at "Swedish Museum of Natural History/Department of Entomology" who was able to identify the fly as beeing a member of the family Phoridae - humpbacked flies, most likely Megaselia scalaris. He explained that these flies were very common, showing up as unwelcome guests in the weirdest places. Given a scientific name it wasn't hard to find more information on the web. It showed out humpbacks sometimes can be parasites or parasitoids that on some occations even had been found in human wound tissue. If I had been aware of this, I'm not sure I'd taken the jar in the first place, or much less exposed my frogs to it! But in the state of not knowing, I'd actually come to like the fly and my frogs didn't seem to have a problem with neither the flies nor their larvae so I'm keeping them. Of course, now I'm aware of the fact that this "new" fly might have the potential to start a problem - maybe not to the frogs directly but I can imagine it might do harm in the cricket's breeding container with the flies attracted by the smell and the larvae feeding on the cricket eggs. So far, no sign of this though.

Megaselia differs quite a lot from the Drosophila species, D. melanogaster and and D.hydei most known to the hobby. The most significant feature of this fly is its swift movements - it runs very rapidly and flies much better than fruitflies. It's got a relatively small head, black eyes and long powerful legs. I put a couple of humpbacks in my scanner as you can se to the right. Along with it I also put the different kinds of fruitflies that I currently breed for comparison, as you can see here.

These flies are extremely easy to breed in large numbers even compared to fruitflies as they seem to be less demanding when it comes to the medium (not that fruitflies are that fuzzy about this either) and the cultures often produce several generations making them last long. I use the same medium for the humpbacks as for the fruitflies but adding some dry dog/catfood seems to boost the fly production even more! The larvae grow extremely fast with an egg to pupa development finished in about 6 days at 25°C! It takes quite long time for the pupae to hatch though - about 10 to 14 days. With the flies being so fast moving I've found it easiest to take advantage of their long hatching time to set up new cultures. I always put a small removable piece of paper in the jar for some of the larvae to pupate on. Then I just use this little piece of paper to set up a new culture. The pupae are so much easier to handle than the adult flies.

The swift movements of the humpback flies actually seem to be a problem for my frogs too sometimes. For the frogs to be able to catch them you should place something that attracts the flies in some strategic position inside the tank. I use a filmcanister with my usual fruitfly medium. In fact I've always done this even before I had this turbo fly as it helps keeping the other flies inside the tank as well, plus this way the frogs always know where they can find food. The easiest way to introduce the flies in the tank is by simply putting the whole culture inside the tank with a small hole in the lid. The frogs soon learn where the humpbacks use to come out and gather around the hole making sure the flies won't make it longer than necessary.

Springtail Culturing

I use plastic candy boxes measuring 20x20x5cm with 2-3 cm moist peat in the bottom. So far probably nothing out of the ordinary for those of you familiar with springtail culturing. On top of the peat it's good to put something that provides the springtails with more surface area. Some people use osmunda for this but as it comes from endangered treeferns it's hard to find nowadays and even if you do you hopefully don't want to take part in the extinction of treeferns. I use a kind of coco fiber mat or in fact it's more like a loose web. It's meant for use in garden ponds to help vegetation to cover the plastic/rubber lining around the edges of the pond and it's quite cheap. I simply cut out a couple of 20x20cm squares of the cocofiber and place them on top of each other on the peat. This makes it very easy to harvest the springtails for feeding and setting up new cultures; you just take out the squares and shake them.

Springtails are not picky eaters but will feed on just about anything organic. I've successfully used: Dry yeast, powdered milk, fish flake food, couscous and slices of raw potato.

Some shots of my tincs and their current tank

Click here for a recording of a calling D.tinctorius [173kb].