AmphibiCast is the Original Amphibian Focused Podcast. Each weekly episode features informative and educational content for hobbyists, naturalists, ecologists, pet enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates frogs, toads and salamanders.
Have you ever wanted to know everything there is to know about the Xenopus genus? Well, this is the episode you have been waiting for. Tonight my guest is Dr. Marko Horb of the National Xenopus Resource and we discuss the genus from top to bottom. Xenopus (commonly known as African clawed frogs) have been model organisms in labs for almost a century and are also an extremely popular genus among hobbyists. Our understating of them has grown tremendously over the years and they have been instrumental in the development of medical applications for humans. Marko walks us through their beginnings in early labs, their lifecycles, husbandry specifics, and much more. Dr. Horb is also the Lab's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Chairman, and we go on to discuss the specifics of amphibian animal welfare and high standards that the lab consistently exceeds. This episode is packed with information that any amphibian enthusiast can appreciate so sit back and enjoy it.
In honor of World Frog Day I thought it would be fun to do a top-ten beginner species count down. In this episode I share some of my experiences and insight regarding ten species that I have personally kept. Bear in mind, this episode is just for fun, and there are many other beginner species out there that could easily be in a top ten list. Many of the species that I cover have their own dedicated episodes, so I encourage you to go back and check those out if you haven't already. Also, there are many different acceptable methods of keeping different species. I share some of mine here. This episode isn't meant to be a definitive guide for each species on the list and I always advise beginners to do as much research as possible before committing to one.
We often think of amphibians as simple creatures who crawled out of of the primordial oceans millions of years ago and ultimately evolved into what we humans see in the mirror each morning. However, this example is clearly not the case and there is a great deal more to the story of amphibian evolution. Before amphibians even existed, early tetrapods evolved into limbed creatures capable of moving on land. This crucial development took millions of years to achieve and you may be quite surprised as to how it all took place.
In this episode I have the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Julia Molnar who is an expert on the mechanics of early tetrapod limbs and how they evolved. Julia is an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and also has advanced degrees in illustration from Johns Hopkins and the Maryland College of Art. She specializes in the studies of vertebrate locomotion and is also an accomplished illustrator. Tonight, Julia shares her expertise with us on the subjects of early amphibians, what the word was like in the Carboniferous Period, how limb development occurred multiple times in the fossil record, and what some of the earliest amphibians looked like.
For more information and to access some of Dr. Molnar's papers visit
Tonight I had a unique opportunity to talk with Dean Jansen directly from Victoria Australia. Dean is an avid vivarium enthusiast, and showcases many of his builds on his Youtube Channel Viv_scape. We start off discussing some of the nuances that go along with successful vivarium and paludarium builds, why Dean enjoys horizontal to vertical conversions, and all the usual elements including lighting, plant selection and more. We then move on to discuss the state of the hobby in Australia, the licensing system there, and what it's like to keep native species only. Feel free to check out and subscribe to Dean's Youtube Channel Viv_scape and follow him on instagram @viv_scape
Jay Sommers of Sandfire Dragon Ranch is my guest tonight and in this episode we talk about the Neurergus genus of newts, their care and the current status of caudates in the hobby. Kaiser newts are arguably one of the most beautiful species in the hobby. But there are many more incredible species in the Neurergus genus and Jay has worked with them all. Many of you may remember Jay from Episode 27 where we talked about Phyllomedusa sauvagii and his experiences with some of the more commonly available species in the hobby. However, Jays real passion has always been in working with rare and unusual newts and salamanders. In the episode he goes into a great deal of detail on their history in the hobby, their current status in the hobby and how to keep them successfully. We also touch on the implications of recent salamander related legislation and what the future holds for caudates in the hobby.
Earlier this month a listener asked me which substate was best for a certain species. I started thinking about the different substrates that I have used over the past thirty years and rather than choose one, I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of the pros and cons associated with various substrates. When choosing a proper substate it is important that we consider the animal's natural history and whether or not we are looking to go naturalistic or utilitarian. Each species has its own specific needs and sometimes even individual animals benefit from different substates at different times. In this episode I discuss everything from humble paper towels to more derived and complicated substates, and situations where they are appropriate.
Hobbyists, zoo keepers and breeders all understand the value that quality prey items have in a captive diet. As our understanding of amphibians increases, so does our concern for their well-being. There are many different prey items to choose from, yet there is one that's always had a bit of mystery surrounding it. Of course I am referring to... -the silkworm. Silkworms have been in the trade for a long time yet they always seem to be unavailable for purchase and information on their care is often scant and inconsistent. Thankfully we have people like Susan Marquardt to set the record straight. Susan is the founder of Beastmode Silkworms and in this episode she shares her insights into how to best acquire, raise and feed silkworms. She also shares the caveats to their care and clarifies some of the rumors that surround them.
For more information visit beastmodesilks.com
Jay Sommers has successfully kept and bred hundreds of species in his 30 year tenure working with herps. He is currently heading operations at Sandfire Dragon Ranch and in tonight's episode we discuss a variety of topics including his work with Phyllomedusa sauvagii (commonly known as the waxy monkey tree frog), his attitudes towards hobby staples vs. uncommon species, and his thoughts on the importance of supplementation.
Kathy Wormald is the CEO of Frog Life, a UK based charitable organization that works towards the conservation of native UK species. In this episode we talk about the goals of Frog Life, concerns unique to UK herps, engaging the public and much more.
Finding a veterinarian familiar with amphibians can often be a challenge. As amphibians continue to become more popular, both experienced and new keepers will in all likelihood need access to veterinary care at some point. As such, it is my pleasure to have Dr. Andrew Logan DVM and my guest tonight. Dr. Logan is a veterinarian committed to furthering veterinary concerns unique to amphibians. He also operates his own consulting business and offers treatment and husbandry advice to zoos and medical professionals that may not be familiar with treating our amphibian friends. We talk about a wide variety of topics including common husbandry errors, parasites, the role of UV lighting, and much more.
Islands around the world are homes to amphibians that face unique challenges. Life on an island can be tough... But no place is tougher than New York... Many people don't realize that the NY Metropolitan area is comprised of several islands. In fact, The Bronx is the only Borough of NYC connected to then mainland. Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties all reside on Long Island, which is the largest island in the US. Due to dense human populations and significant habitat fragmentation, NY amphibians face challenges like no others. My guest tonight is Dr. Jeremy Feingberg and he is an expert on urban frogs. Jeremy is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Museum and he recently discovered a new species of Leopard Frog right here in New York City. Jeremy is also a native New Yorker and in this episode we discuss his work studying NY frogs, urban ecology, bioacoustics, and a whole host of other interesting topics.
In this episode we once again venture outside the glass box, and into the world of chameleons. My guest tonight is the one and only Bill Strand. Bill is the host of the Chameleon Academy Podcast and operates the Chameleon Academy website. Bill has decades of experience keeping and breeding chameleons and in this episode we talk about some similarities in our respective hobbies, husbandry issues, the role of social media in the hobby and of course, a Bill offers plenty of sound advice on how an amphibian keeper can best transition into a successful chameleon keeper.
Stefania (AKA the Dart Frog Queen) is my guest tonight. We talk about her journey through the amphibian hobby and why she created her influential Youtube Channel. Although Stefania is not actively involved in the hobby anymore, she was kind enough to come our of retirement and share her insights with us. Some of the topics we discuss include the importance of a good mentor, mossy frogs (theleoderma corticale), streamlining a large collection and what it takes to be a responsible hobbyist.
In this episode Josh Coppola joins me from the UK by way of Italy. Josh and I discuss some of his experiences keeping newts and salamanders in captivity as well as how Bsal has significantly effected European salamander populations. We also discuss Josh's website salamanderland.com. Salamanderland.com contains a wealth of quality up to date information, care sheets and husbandry insights. I encourage you to check it out if you're interested in getting into caudates. Although we didn't have the greatest audio in the episode due to some wifi issues, this episode is still packed with some very insightful observations and information on all things salamander.
Joe Smith comes to us tonight from the UK. In this episode we talk about the learning curve in the Hobby. We discuss rookie mistakes we made in our early days keeping frogs, a few DIY vivarium hacks and how Joe started his Youtube Channel as a way to connect with other frog keepers.
Nick Stacey is one of the cofounders of the Fragile Planet Wildlife Center in Texas. In this episode we talked about how the center started, his Atelopus Project and what ultimately lead to his successful captive breeding of Atelopus balios. If you've ever been interested in the Atelopus genus this is the episode for you.
In tonight's episode I talk with Keith Tanis of Frogs 'n Things. We talk shop about how he started out, some of his favorite species and what he is upon to now. (Note/Disclaimer: In this episode we discuss some treatment methods that are common in the hobby. Please be aware though that our discussion is for entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Any treatment methods should always be done under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian.
(Note, Tonight's episode was prerecorded) In this week's episode I sat down with Devin Edmonds. Devin has worked extensively with mantellas in their native Madacascar, has written several books about captive husbandry and is currently working towards his Phd. We talked about mantella care, conservation, and we had a nice side conversation about Africa's Goliath Frog. For more information about Devin's work visit pace.inhs.illinois.edu
Tonight's conversation spans two continents and in this episode I have the pleasure of talking with Josh Allen. Josh comes to us straight from Peru, where he has been guide for almost five years. Tonight he shares some of his fascinating encounters with local ranitomeya, how he ended up as a guide on another continent and what his thoughts are when it comes to conservation.
Tonight's episode is a little bit different. Although they are not amphibians, lizard species within the Abronia genus (commonly called Mexican Alligator Lizards) face many of the same concerns faced by Central American anurans when it comes to conservation and care. Nick Gordon represents the Abronia Alliance and he was kind enough to talk to me this evening. The Abronia Alliance is an organization that promotes the conservation of Abronia species, engages the public through outreach and works to establish sustainable captive populations.
In tonight's episode I share a few news articles I found interesting and I go over some tips on how to plan a frog room.
Tonight I had a conversation with Mike Novy of Rainforest Junkies. We talked about the care and breeding of Redeyed Treefrogs, Lemur Frogs, and Mike's observations during a trip Costa Rica. Mike has decades of experience and shares his home with up to thousands of tree frogs at any given point. He was kind enough to share some off his experience and we had more than a few laughs along the way.
Tonight it was my pleasure to speak with Julio Rodriguez who has been an influential force in the dart frog hobby for years. He is one of the organizers of American Frog Day and he works closely with Tesoros de Columbia towards establishing hobby sustainability. In this episode we talked about the history of dart frogs in the hobby, once in a lifetime sightings, the challenges associated with in situ conservation and what the future holds.
In tonight's episode I chat with Pat Klein about his experiences breeding and caring for various members of the Ceratophrys genus. In addition to being the owner/operator of The Frog depot, Pat is also certified veterinary technician with years of experience working with veterinarians in a zoo environment.
In this episode I had a chance to talk with the one and only Troy Goldberg. We talked about how his art background influences his vivarium builds, why he started what would be come a successful YouTube channel and some of the nuances associated with keeping oophaga.
In this episode I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bill Rodman of In Situ Ecosystems. We talked about how his experiences as an aerospace engineer and how his love for frogs evolved into into a successful vivarium business. We also discussed the finer points of vivarium construction, common beginner mistakes and how to create a captive environmental dynamic that models nature as closely as possible.
In tonight's episode I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mark Mandica -cofounder of The Amphibian Foundation. Mark and I discussed our thoughts on conservation, the role of community outreach and Mark's personal and professional experiences with Toughie -the last Rabbs' Fringe Limbed Tree Frog on Earth.
As we continue the second part of our conversation, Alex and I discuss his efforts to bridge the gap between hobbyists and conservation groups.
I had a long discussion the other day with Alex Menke of Frog Daddy. We talked about so many things that I had to break it up into two episodes. Tonight's episode is Part 1. In this episode we focused our discussion on how Alex became involved with dart frogs and how he grew his business.
In this episode I discuss my stance on the practice of mixing species.
In this episode I share some of my personal experiences with microfauna.
Tonight my guest is research scientist and teacher Breann Ross. We discussed the role of axolotls in the classroom and the important role conservation has in education.
Tonight I sat down with Travis of TCS dart frogs. We had a long discussion about dart frogs and what it is like owning a small business.
This Episode is a very brief introduction. It explains who I am any why I decided to create an amphibian focused podcast