Baseline Behavioral Data and Behavioral Correlates of Disturbance for the Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes)
AuthorsDias, Jemma E.
Smith, Tessa E
Hosie, Charlotte A
Michaels, Christopher J.
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; Zoological Sciety of London Outer Circle
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AbstractAnimal behavior and welfare science can form the basis of zoo animal management. However, even basic behavioral data are lacking for the majority of amphibian species, and species-specific research is required to inform management. Our goal was to develop the first ethogram for the critically endangered frog Xenopus longipes through observation of a captive population of 24 frogs. The ethogram was applied to produce a diurnal activity budget and to measure the behavioral impact of a routine health check where frogs were restrained. In the activity budget, frogs spent the vast majority of time swimming, resting in small amounts of time devoted to feeding, foraging, breathing, and (in males) amplexus. Using linear mixed models, we found no effect of time of day or sex on baseline behavior, other than for breathing, which had a greater duration in females. Linear mixed models indicated significant effects of the health check on duration of swimming, resting, foraging, feeding, and breathing behaviors for all frogs. This indicates a welfare trade-off associated with veterinary monitoring and highlights the importance of non-invasive monitoring where possible, as well as providing candidates for behavioral monitoring of acute stress. This investigation has provided the first behavioral data for this species which can be applied to future research regarding husbandry and management practices.
CitationDias, J.E.; Ellis, C.; Smith, T.E.; Hosie, C.A.; Tapley, B.; Michaels, C.J. Baseline Behavioral Data and Behavioral Correlates of Disturbance for the Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes). J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2022, 3, 184-197. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg3020016
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