Posts Tagged 'rain forest'



The Life Cycle of Poison Dart Frogs Explained

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National Aquarium has had a long, successful history of breeding poison dart frogs. Here in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, we have 16 species of poison dart frogs. Over the last few decades, scientists have become very interested in the reproductive strategies of these species and how they care for their young.

blue poison dart froglet

Dart frogs are incredibly intriguing animals. In addition to possessing toxins and bright colorations/patterns, they also have a fairly complex life cycle!

For most species, females will choose a leaf lying on the rain forest floor to deposit a mass of eggs, which the male will then fertilize. Males are oftentimes in charge of guarding the eggs while they develop.

poison dart frogs developing

Here at the Aquarium, most of our tadpoles develop behind-the-scenes in their own simulated bromeliad cup.

Once the tadpoles have developed, one parent will carry each tadpole to their very own pool of water held in a plant, known as a phytotelma. In the wild, some dart frog species (including many of the species we have in our collection) choose the water-filled cups at the base of bromeliads to safely store young.

Many tadpoles are omnivorous and most species will feed on algae and/or other small animal life (including other tadpoles). During their time in the bromeliads, the tadpoles will progressively metamorphose into full-fledged froglets!

The transition takes approximately two months, and they typically reach adult size and maturity within a year.

The normal life span for these animals in zoos and aquariums is about 10-15 years. Here at the Aquarium, we’ve had frogs live to be at least 23 years old!

ken howell rain forest expert national aquarium

International Migratory Bird Day!

Today is International Migratory Bird Day

This day celebrates the return of migratory bird species from warmer climates for the summer season! Every year, species like the oriole fly to the tropical rain forests of South America for the winter and return back to North America for the warm summer months.

Oriole

An oriole bird.

There are around 350 species of birds migratory birds that connect the North American region to the tropics. These birds rely on the availability of habitat and ecological networks along their migration routes. As they travel such long distances, migratory species need safe places to feed, rest and breed. Sadly, deforestation and habitat degradation are limiting the access these animals have to such crucial resources – posing a real threat to the survival of many birds during this demanding trip.

Want to see what kind of impact deforestation has had over time in the Amazon? Check out this interactive timelapse project from Google.

By helping to conserve the rain forest and creating safe wildlife habitats in your own backyard, you can help curb this unfortunate trend.

Migratory birds in our area? 

The Chesapeake Bay watershed plays an important role in the survival of one migratory bird species in particular, the red knot. Horseshoe crab spawning along the Delaware Bay provides a crucial food source for red knots. As these birds are making the long trip from Chile all the way up to the Artic, they stop in the Delaware Bay to feed on horseshoe crab eggs. This fuel stop is crucial to the success of their continued journey. You can experience this magnificent sight this weekend!

How YOU can celebrate Migratory Bird Day! 

  • Keep a clean bird seed feeder in your yard. Dirty bird feeders and bird baths can spread disease. Disinfected feeders and baths can make your area a great resting spot for these birds.
  • Leave baby birds where you find them and protect any birds from pets! Fledgings may spend several days on the ground after they leave the nest before they are able to fly. Keeping people and pets away is crucial to letting their parents continue to care for them properly.
  • Buy bird-friendly products. Help preserve migratory and native bird habitat in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean by purchasing shade-grown coffee and chocolate.
  • Plant a native garden! Native plants provide food, nest sites and cover for birds.

Are you enjoying nature this weekend? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page or using #NAnaturelove. 

Animal Updates – April 12

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Recapped Cardinals on exhibit! 

We have a pair of redcapped cardinals now on exhibit in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest!

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Similar to the well-known American Cardinal, this South American bird is a type of finch! Redcapped cardinals use their strong beaks for cracking seeds and sturdy legs for perching.

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Redcapped cardinals have surprisingly large feet, which allow them to walk steadily on floating vegetation as they feed in the mangrove swamps. Like many other finches, these songbirds have a beautiful call!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Updates – March 22

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Lined Seahorses

We have two new lined seahorses in our Surviving Through Adaptation exhibit – a male named Kuda (Malaysian for “seahorse”) and a female named Monroe!

Lined Seahorse

Lined Seahorse at National Aquarium, Baltimore
Photo courtesy of Michael Bentley

Did you know? This species of seahorse can actually be found in the Chesapeake Bay! Lined seahorses can vary drastically in both coloration and ornamentation.  They can range from a yellowish color all the way down the spectrum to nearly black.  Some may have intricate ornamentation on their backs and their heads.  Lined seahorses can also change color slightly to match their surroundings!

Golden Lion Tamarins

Our golden lion tamarins, found in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, have been spending more time in one of the mahogany trees situated closer to ground level, giving visitors some great opportunities to see them up close!

golden lion tamarin

Check out this GREAT photo from one of our recent visitors, Instagram user kfollm!

Next time you’re up in the rain forest, be sure to look up and hopefully spot one of these amazing animals!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

MPT Feature Program: The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt

Throughout 2012, National Aquarium staff worked closely with Maryland Public Television to film and produce an educational, 30-minute special, “The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt!”

Tune in to watch the program at 8:00 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013!

“The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt”
This educational, live-action, family program follows the fictional students of South Town Middle school on their class field trip through the National Aquarium! But this time there’s a catch – Science Teacher Mr. Hedgeman has turned it into a Treasure Hunt!

The great aquarium treasure hunt with MPT at National Aquarium - Dewey and Trevor

Join Dewey and Trevor on a wild exploration of the National Aquarium, home to thousands of species of marine life!

Throughout their journey, the students meet and learn from National Aquarium experts.  They explore marine life of the Chesapeake Bay, go “down under” to visit the crocodiles of Australia, discover the frogs in an indoor rain forest and submerge into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for an up-close look at the array of deep sea life from sharks to rays to dolphins.

In the end, Dewey and Trevor will explore the entire aquarium, but can they be the first team to have all the answers before it’s too late? Tune in to find out!

Check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the filming below! 

A special thanks to all National Aquarium staff who were involved in the filming, especially our amazing on-screen stars: Allison, Beth, Jessica, Kyle and Andy!

In addition to airing on MPT, the program will be played at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital through its internal cable systems in patient rooms and waiting rooms.

Major funding for The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt is provided by LifeBridge Health.

Don’t forget to tune in to MPT for the premiere of “The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt” at 8:00 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013!


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