Edit: With information from other keepers on the internet and confirmation from the original breeder of these animals they have been identified as Alto Tambo and not Rio Durango as originally posted. They are also six years old, not four.
These frogs were acquired in the summer of 2018 as four year old confirmed males from someone thinning out their collection. The original owner saw no breeding activity from them, and I figured one male could be traded with some cash for a female or a couple froglets so it was worth the risk to acquire these uncommon frogs.
The frogs were kept fairly dry and on the thin side, not unhealthy, but it was obvious why there was no breeding activity regardless of the sex of the animals. The coloration was even a bit subdued from what they look like now.
The frogs quickly disappeared into their new enclosure providing little evidence of their existence, aside from fresh poop in a few spaces they must have visited regularly.
Interestingly, these frogs look very similar to an import of Ecuadorian ‘Histrionicus’ from back in the 1990’s. I ended up with five males from Anthony Hundt (one of the originals on the old Frognet mailing list). I kept them for about ten years in a 75 gallon converted fish tank. They quacked quite a bit and as long as the humidity didn’t get too high they only fought at feeding time. I was never able to find a female.
Through the first month, we were unsuccessful in shopping one frog to set up a trade for a female or froglets. During that time, the increased food intake and automatic daily misting had gotten at least one male into breeding condition as calling could be heard from their setup. As with other territorial frogs, once ready to breed he was much more bold. Sitting out in the open, calling after misting and patrolling around the vivarium - especially when the O. granulifera were courting nearby. He also switched from the single note quacking to a repetitive call similar to a loud O. pumilio.
After two months of trying to put together a trade, we settled on the idea that for the time being we would keep these frogs as display animals. How many are so lucky that they get to keep large obligates?
Within a week of us calling it quits on finding a female, I found a clutch of five eggs on a bromeliad leaf while chasing slugs. So either O. sylvatica are sequential hermaphrodites like clownfish or someone misidentified the sexes of one of the frogs. A quick poke around the vivarium flushed a rotund (and obviously female) frog out of a cork tube.
These eggs went bad within a week, but another clutch was laid within ten days. That too went bad and then another and another. After about a dozen clutches, there was one that started to show development. However, that clutched disappeared about a week before I expected the female to transport the tadpoles and a check of the bromeliads and water holding canisters found no tadpoles. That was the last visible clutch. The frogs even became shy again with a glimpse of the male every now and then. There were many other things to take care of in the room and fussing at obligates rarely seems to help them breed, so they were given a break.
Fast forward to a weekend early this spring and a conversation about the burgeoning slug and snail population in the sylvatica vivarium. The molluscs were destroying all the plants and preventing it from being an attractive display or a nursery for delicate begonias. A temporary enclosure, large enough for the pair, had opened up. They moved in so their existing one could be gutted, nuked, and setup again. Of course, the change in venue got the male back out, active, patrolling the new territory and calling his brains out.
Less than a week after they moved into their temporary home, a clutch of eggs was found underwater in a film canister while clearing dead fruit flies. These eggs were probably laid within a day of the move as the canisters weren’t filled with water until two to three days after the transfer. They looked like good eggs, but development had stopped. I’d likely drowned them.
However, if frogs breed once, they’ll likely breed again (if they aren’t dead). Just a few days later another viable looking clutch appeared on a bromeliad leaf near the top of the vivarium. As you can see in the pictures below these eggs made it all the way to tadpoles, hatched, and have been transported by the female. Only time will tell if mom completed the transport successfully and then actually raises the tadpoles to froglets - the biggest hurdle with all obligates.
It’s unclear whether the frogs:
A. Continued to breed in their original vivarium but never raised tadpoles because the eggs were eaten by snails and slugs before hatching
B. Continued to breed but the female failed to raised tadpoles successfully
C. Stopped breeding for some reason (like the clutches being destroyed) and have restarted with the move to the new enclosure.
They produced a third clutch, that also looks viable, in a film canister about ten days after the one on bromeliad. I can’t imagine that she can raise more tadpoles that she already transported and am hoping that she puts this egg production toward the rearing of her babies.
To answer another question, providing the female successfully raises the tadpoles and we can raise the froglets, we will probably hold the offspring and hopefully find someone else raising these so that we can add to the bloodline. Long term success in breeding frogs follows the same plan as nobility - having an heir and a spare. It’s also how I stock my deodorant. Fun fact.