Behaviour 2019
Respiratory behavior and habitat use with water temperature changes in Lake Titicaca Frog
Jennie Willis1, Jennifer Brady1, Anneke Moresco2, Derek Cossaboon2. 1Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States; 2Denver Zoo, Denver, CO, United States

The Lake Titicaca frog (Telmatobius culeus) is critically endangered and endemic to a few high-altitude lakes in the Andes. It was recently brought into AZA facilities as an assurance population and to educate the public about wildlife exploitation.  T. culeus has been described as fully aquatic, using only cutaneous respiration despite having functional lungs.   Anecdotal observations of T. culeus housed in human care at 70F for over a month without apparent health issues, led us to explore the environmental constraints needed to house these important frogs to be kept by a wider range of zoos without expensive cooling equipment.  We incrementally raised the temperature for 40 individuals across two age groups from 60F to 70F.  Respiratory behavior shifted as temperature increased, with no immediate health or welfare concerns. Younger individuals surfaced more and completely emerged from the water nocturnally as temperatures increased, suggesting differential strategies across age groups. Our results suggest juveniles in the wild may occupy different niches than adults.  This finding has potential for informing conservation action in the face of a warming native habitat.