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Dendrobates tinctorius “Azureus” dart frog inverted tadpole (bubble tad)

invertedTad-1001clutch-climbing_2569After a few months of breeding, my Dendrobates tinctorius azureus pair produced an interesting tadpole. This tadpole was consistently inverted, a condition commonly referred to as a “bubble tad”. First, this story ends well with a very healthy froglet seen climbing out of the water (left) for the first time on January 26, 2013 after being deposited on October 1, 2012.

This condition is caused by an air bubble that develops inside the tadpole due to supersaturated or overly aerated water, causing it to float. It is distressing to see, but as is documented here, with standard rearing practices, a tadpole with this condition can develop like any other. This tadpole was able to correct its orientation and feed. It did rest on its back.

I’ve put together a brief photo log of the development of this froglet. This log is captured below, highlighting key stages of the tadpole’s development. It matched the progress of other froglets from this pair, except for its orientation during development.

Here is the log, along with selected comments accompanying the photos.

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 Photo log

invertedTad-1001clutch_1146 2012-11-04It has been mostly raised on NLS 0.5mm cichlid pellets with occasional tadpole bites. Water is conditioned tap using SeaChem Prime and Tetra Blackwater Extract.
invertedTad-1001clutch_1430 2012-11-26Rear legs begin to develop. Tadpole continues to develop at the same rate as other tadpoles.
invertedTad-1001clutch_2015 2012-12-13Rear legs are developing nicely. This photo represents a typical position for the tadpole. The quarter under the cup is provided for reference.
invertedTad-1001clutch_2040 2012-12-14Another representation of the tadpole’s resting position.
invertedTad-1001clutch_2360 2012-12-31A few shots of the nicely developing rear legs. The tadpole is quite mobile and able to easily right itself. It’s a powerful swimmer, but the bubble does create a “corkscrew” effect to the swimming motion.
invertedTad-1001clutch_2362 2012-12-31
invertedTad-1001clutch_2363 2012-12-31
invertedTad-1001clutch_2364 2012-12-31
invertedTad-1001clutch_2431 2013-01-13One of my favorite shots, this image shows the internally developing front legs while the tadpole was in a resting position.
invertedTad-1001clutch_2432 2013-01-13
invertedTad-1001clutch_2436 2013-01-13The typical azureus coloration is beginning to develop.
invertedTad-1001clutch-1leg-back_2473 2013-01-14Another view of the azureus coloration the next day. The left front leg has broken out, but it is difficult to see in this view.
invertedTad-1001clutch-1leg-belly_2470 2013-01-14A view of the freed left front leg.
invertedTad-1001clutch-2leg-belly_2481 2013-01-15The second front leg has broken through.
InvertedTad-1001clutch-4legs_2495 2013-01-16Both front legs have been out for just over 24 hours. The tadpole is now spending all its time in a normal position.
invertedTad-1001clutch-morphed_2545 2013-01-25Resorption of the tail is nearly complete.
invertedTad-1001clutch-morphed_2546 2013-01-25
invertedTad-1001clutch-climbing_2571 2013-01-27Froglet emerges from water consistently.
invertedTad-1001clutch-climbing_2569 2013-01-27A wider view of the froglet scaling the deli cup wall.

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