Amphibians: Increase caloric intake of females in preparation for breeding

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Source countries

Key messages

  • One replicated, before-and-after study in Australia found that clutch size of frogs increased when females increased in weight before breeding, as well as having mate choice, recorded mating calls, and sexes being separated in the non-breeding periods.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study in 2009–2012 in New South Wales, Australia reported that allowing female captive southern corroboree frogs Pseudophryne corroboree to gain significant weight before the breeding period, along with separating sexes during the non-breeding period, providing mate choice for females and playing recorded mating calls increased clutch size and decreased egg mortality, although no statistical tests were carried out. At Melbourne Zoo from 2009 to 2010 females were fed a normal diet before the breeding season, average female weight was 2.8 g (range: 1.8–3.7 g) and average clutch size was 17–20/female, with 70–92% egg mortality. In 2011, females were fed more intensively for a further 16 days after the overwintering period, before being introduced to the males. The average female mass was 3.4 g (range: 2.7–4.0 g) and clutch size was 40 with 70% egg mortality. In 2012, females were again separated from the males to be fed more intensively for 14 days. The average female weight was 3.6 g (range: 2.9–4.6 g) and average clutch size was 46, with 27% egg mortality.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2018) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 495-523 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Management of Captive Animals

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Management of Captive Animals
Management of Captive Animals

Management of Captive Animals - Published 2018

Captive Animal Synopsis

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

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