Archive for December 2014

Raorchestes resplendens

Sometimes I run across photos of frogs that just make me go WOW. Raorchestes resplendens is one of those frogs. Recently, the pictures below popped up on my Facebook feed. I love its gummy little feet. It almost doesn’t look real.

Raorchestes resplendens

Raorchestes resplendens are so rare that using a “common name” seems a bit odd, but they are also called the Resplendent Shrubfrog. These little frogs are only an inch or less from nose to ‘tail’. They are ground frogs typically found above ground in the foliage, although they can occasionally be found climbing. Their appearance is very different from other frogs in the Raorchestes genus, but a molecular study of their evolutionary relationships has put them in that group.


Raorchestes resplendens are native to a small area at the summit of Anamudi, the highest peak in the Western Ghats, a mountain range in western India. Their range appears to be 3 square km (about 1 square mile). This puts them on the endangered species list as Critically Endangered. It’s estimated that the total population is around 300 individuals.


They live in mossy forests and can tolerate a wide temperature range, between 26° and 86° F. Their eggs are deposited into the ground inside bamboo clumps and hatch into froglets, a process known as “direct development“.


Although they are listed as critically endangered, no traces of chytrid fungus have been found in their population. Their cause for decline is still unknown, but the lack of chytrid is at least a shred of good news. They have also not made it into the pet trade yet, which could quickly wipe out wild populations. A captive breeding population would be great, but needs to be done carefully.


This species is found very close to the range of the Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, a frog that has appeared on social media a lot due to it’s bizarre appearance. It is also endangered. The Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis is a round purple frog with a pointed nose, and is found on the same mountain peak in India.


More Fire Salamanders

A couple months ago, I added more Fire Salamanders, bringing my total to four. These fatties have settled in well and are pigging out on crickets and earth worms.

They’re housed in a pretty simple set up for now. I have them in a rubbermaid tub with peat moss and sphagnum moss for substrate, and a variety of pothos and philodendron cuttings for foliage. They have created burrows in the substrate, but they’re also out and about frequently and seem to be pretty comfortable just using the leaves for cover.

Salamandra salamandra more fire salamanders

The cuttings are rooting and at least the philodendrons will be moved with them into a nicer tank at some point. Pothos is great for simple set ups like this, but I don’t really like it in “show tanks”. It may be necessary if they dig too much for more delicate plants, but I’ll try out some other things first. Philodendrons should do fine. Hopefully they’ll allow some mosses and ferns to thrive as well.

more fire salamanders

The sphagnum really stuck to them a lot in the beginning, but as the new cage settled, that stopped happening quite as much as well. They don’t really seem to care either way though, as long as it’s not in their face.

fire salamander

Below the sphagnum moss is a layer of peat moss. They have dug some tunnels through it and sometimes I find them hiding in their burrows. By “find” I mean I’ll see them pop out and nab a cricket on occasion. Overall, they’ve been pretty bold. Usually they’re out under the leaves instead of underground.

fire salamanderfire salamander sleeping

I also picked up a third Matecho. This one has a hint of blue on its legs and belly. Should be interesting to see how it looks as it grows.He’s a bit smaller than the other two, but doing well with them. All my Matecho has a black spot on their backs. I’ll probably “have to” get another one or two with solid yellow backs. That’s a good excuse to get more frogs, right? Maybe some more Fire Salamanders as well…

dendrobates tinctorius matecho

Hammer & Vine

This weekend I made it down to Portland, Oregon and finally got a chance to visit Hammer & Vine. I’ve seen them at reptile shows (even got my favorite fern from them, seen in the last picture on this post) and admired their glass on Dendroboard (blown glass egg pods? NEED.) but I hadn’t gotten a chance to visit the actual show until this past Friday. It’s pretty spectacular.


This is the corner I was looking for! The store was full of all sorts of plants, including a large selection of tillandsia, succulents, bromeliads, carnivorous plants, orchids, and numerous other tropical plants. I picked up a jewel orchid and a small philodendron while I was there.


The philodendron can be seen on the far right. I haven’t IDed the species yet, but I really like the darker green veining.


Lots and lots of tillandsias.


Tillandsias everywhere.


Some interesting mounted orchids. Once I set up a larger tank, I’ll start collecting these too, I’m sure.


They had a beautiful selection of bromeliads. I was particularly attracted to some of the striped cryptanthus and the one on the far left below. Again, I need a larger tank before I start collecting these. Only the tiniest species work in the tanks I have now.


Once I pulled myself away from the plants, the rest of the shop was pretty amazing too.


The glass dart frog egg pods I want are similar to these. Much better than film canisters! Hopefully Hammer & Vine will start selling them again soon.


Vases? Sea creatures? Seed pods? I’m not sure, but I really like them.


This frog lives in a tank under the register.


Hammer & Vine is located on Burnside in North West Portland, about half a mile west of Powell’s City of Books. If you’re in the area, I strongly suggest visiting both! I stocked up on a bunch of books right after leaving Hammer & Vine… or more like an hour after leaving. I got lost in the book store for quite a while!