Mortality of New Zealand native frogs in captivity

Shaw, Stephanie, and Holzapfel, Avi (2008) Mortality of New Zealand native frogs in captivity. DOC Research and Development Series, 295. pp. 1-30.

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Three species of New Zealand native frogs (Leiopelma archeyi, L. hochstetteri and L. pakeka) have been held in captivity in various institutions since 2000 as part of a programme to maintain and breed these threatened species. Following the death of a large number of these captive frogs, the Department of Conservation Native Frog Recovery Group decided that an investigation was needed to determine the cause. In this mortality study, we obtained data from captive populations to analyse mortality rates and causes of death for 252 wild-caught Leiopelma spp. These were held in captivity at the University of Canterbury and later transferred to other institutions between 2000 and 2006. Leiopelma archeyi and L. hochstetteri had similar overall average mortality but different yearly mortality patterns, whereas L. pakeka had much lower overall mortality. The major cause of death for L. archeyi and L. hochstetteri was bacterial infection, which was thought to be induced by a combination of husbandry factors, but mainly from oversterilising the substrate. Consequently, Auckland Zoo instigated a change in management, whereby soil was only heated to a temperature and for a length of time that was just sufficient to kill amphibian chytrid. New disease syndromes (skin blisters and muscle deterioration (rhabdomyolysis)) were also detected. Knowledge of disease is an important component of captive husbandry, so that healthy breeding populations can be maintained and we can gain an insight into diseases that may be affecting free-living populations. It is recommended that the staff at each institution undertake a review of all captive mortalities and report back to the Native Frog Recovery Group on an annual basis, so that any husbandry or disease issues that have arisen can be identified quickly.

Item ID: 25137
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1177-9306
Keywords: Leiopelma, amphibian disease, captive management, New Zealand, frogs, amphibian chytrid, rhabdomyolysis, septicaemia, blisters
Funders: DOC Science Advice Fund
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 00:38
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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