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Old May 25th, 2013, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default Underwater Frog Guide

There are 3 types (genera) of underwater frogs commonly sold as pets. The largest is the Surinam Road Pipa pipa, found in Brazil and all of S. America to the north. They are very flat, have webbed feet and get 8-9 inches long. They make a clicking noise to attract mates, and are famous for their odd reproductive strategy. The females lays about 10 eggs, which the male fertilzes and them pushes them onto her sticky back. The skin of her back grows around them, and they ultimately go through their entire tadpole stage there and emerge as 7/8 inch long toads. They are tongueless and toothless, but can swallow prey items close to their own size, so are not compatible with many fish. They cost about 35 to $40.

The next largest is the genus Xenopus. There are twenty species throughout Africa, which all look similar, but differ genetically and in temperature requirements. Xenopus laevis, the most common one, likes water temperature of 60-70 degrees, whereas X. tropicalis likes temperature of 77-85 degrees. Collectively, they are called African Clawed Frogs, as each hind foot has 3 black claws. Xenopus are bottom dwellers with eyes on top of their heads. They often sit still in the water waiting for prey to approach. They are crepuscular, and most active at sunrise and sunset. The males get 2.5 inches long, the females can get over 5. They are bottom dwellers for the most part. They are good aquarium pets and compatible with medium sized fish.

Finally there are African Dwarf frogs,Hymenochirus, which when young do have claws, so are easy to confuse with Xenopus but they don't get nearly as big, staying about 1 to 1.5 inches. They are shallow water frogs, and are fairly active, but sleep a lot. Males have a white gland behind their front feet, and hum a lot, especially when mating. They are social, and best kept in small groups.

All of them are predatory and fairly defenseless, so it's important to keep them with tank mates that are the right size, and not overly aggressive.
Dr. Robert Price
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