National Amphibian Conservation Center offers rare glimpse of life cycle

ROYAL OAK, Mich., March 7, 2013 – Catch a red-eye from Detroit, but skip the expensive airfare and long security line.  For the first time, the Detroit Zoo's National Amphibian Conservation Center has red-eyed tree frog tadpoles on exhibit, providing a look at the species in various stages of metamorphosis.  A clutch of approximately 25 eggs was laid on January 30 and the tadpoles will soon begin to emerge as juveniles.

"The next four to six weeks will offer an excellent opportunity for visitors to see the fascinating metamorphosis of the frogs at various stages of their life cycle," said Curator of Amphibians Marcy Sieggreen.

Most of the 75 amphibian species at the National Amphibian Conservation Center are bred in carefully controlled environments, and the development of their offspring happens behind the scenes.  The recent on-exhibit breeding event provides a unique and limited opportunity for visitors to see the evolving tadpoles up close.

"Amphibian metamorphosis is one of the most fascinating processes in the animal kingdom.  These little creatures start without limbs or lungs, living solely under water, and gradually change to breathe air and hop around on land.  It's exciting to see the frogs in the various stages of this development," said Sieggreen.

Native to the Central American rainforest, the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) has a vibrant green body with blue and yellow stripes on its sides and bulging red eyes. While it is a relatively small amphibian, averaging only about 2-3 inches long, the red-eyed tree frog can jump 20 times its own length.