Matushkina Kseniya Andreevna, Candidate of biological sciences, senior lecturer, sub-department of zoology, Russian State Agrarian University – MTAA (49 Timiryazevskaya street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: email@example.com
Kidov Artem Aleksandrovich, Candidate of biological sciences, associate professor, sub-department of zoology, Russian State Agrarian University – MTAA (49 Timiryazevskaya street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shul'ga Anna Vagramovna, Student, Russian State Agrarian University – MTAA (49 Timiryazevskaya street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: email@example.com
Background. The Maghreb toad is a sole African representative of the genus Bufotes. Despite the fact that it is a common species in North Africa, in some areas its abundance has declined significantly. At the same time, in literature there are no data about their reproduction in the laboratory. The purpose: to characterize the features of the maintenance and breeding of the Maghreb toad in the laboratory. The objectives: to obtain the offspring in the laboratory; to study the main reproductive parameters.
Materials and methods. The toads (a female and a male) were obtained from Egypt in 2006. In the period from 2006 to 2015, the toads were kept according to the generally accepted method of capture for green toads, but without seasonal temperature changes; reproductive behavior was not noted. Attempts to produce offspring have been undertaken three times in January 2016, 2017 and 2018. Artificial hibernation period was used to stimulate the breeding of animals, and lasted 25–35 days at a temperature of 0,3–19,9 °C, mean humidity was 11–72 %. A synthetic analogue of the gonadotropic hormone luliberin (surfagon) was used for additional stimulation of breeding. B. variabilis female and B. baturae male were involved in hybridization experiments.
Results. The fertility of the Maghreb toad in the laboratory (3069‒4378) was significantly lower than the same parameter in the wild (9000‒15 000). The egg clutches of B. boulengeri were represented by a single string with a diameter of 0,41–0,43 cm. The diameter of embryos was 0,14–0,16 cm. The development from spawning to the cleavage of prelarvae lasted after 3 days. The total length of prelarvae was 0,28–0,37 cm. The total duration of embryogenesis from spawning to the start of exogenous feeding larvae was 8–9 days. The body length of exogenous feeding larvae was 0,32–0,42 cm; the tail length was 0,32–0,56 cm. The total duration of development from spawning to metamorphosis was 51–57 days. The body length of the metamorphosed toads ranged from 1,21 to 1,54 cm, weight was 0,19–0,34 g. The survival rate in the first year of life was 100 %.
Conclusions. In the laboratory the Maghreb toad is less fecund than in the wild. Probably high rate of larval development allows successful breeding of the Maghreb toads in ephemeral ponds.
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