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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone but me seen signs that dendrobatids seem to be fairly intelligent?

My Tincs have learned to associate the preparations outside of their tank with the tasty meal that comes afterward; for instance when i pull the bag for calcium dusting out, they seem excited. And when i left for the week to visit family, they seemed happy to see me when i got back. Has anyone else noticed signs of PDF intelligence?
 

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At the risk of sounding like an idiot, it sounds a bit more like conditioning. The same way fish get excited when you near the tank. Whenever I shut pumps off for feeding, the fish become excitable and come to the surface. I'm not completely sure of the definitions behind them, but I don't think it's actually classified as "learning".
 

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At the risk of sounding like an idiot, it sounds a bit more like conditioning. The same way fish get excited when you near the tank. Whenever I shut pumps off for feeding, the fish become excitable and come to the surface. I'm not completely sure of the definitions behind them, but I don't think it's actually classified as "learning".
Learning isn't how conditioning is usually defined in the literature.. There is at least one long thread about this on here somewhere...
 

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Learning is most definitely a sign of intelligence. Question is, how high that level of intelligence is. I used to always feed my frogs after spraying down the tanks so they got to the point that every time it "rained" it was time to come out of hiding and look for food. Conditioning maybe, but I look at it as they are pretty smart.

Main reason I say this is because I always had friends over that wanted to see the frogs and could never find them. To get them out I would spray the tank down and out they would pop. Of course it was never feeding time and they learned that it was just a trick and stopped coming out for their 'show'.

Pretty smart I think.
 

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I think they are pre-programmed to seek out food and they associate you with food. I definitely would not rule out the possibility that they might have the capacity to differentiate between a provider of a source of food and an unrelated person. Even fish know the association between food and the stimulus that precedes it. With the betta fish I own, I shake the food pellets and then feed a piece of food. Over time the betta fish has learned to swim to the top of the water when it hears the jar shaking. It's just association, which is not a sign of high intelligence, but it is intelligence and related to learning in a way.
I think they may be smarter than other frogs, but that's just b/c I like them better than the layabouts like pacman frogs.
 

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I was jus thinking that they learned that I was tricking them to come out and they wouldn't fall for it anymore.
Or you do something slightly different when feeding that is the actual cue and have anthropomorphized it to mean they figured it out.
 

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I am thinking Pavlov's Law. The old ring the bell when you feed the dogs every time you feed them and salivate. After weeks of feeding and ringing the bell when when feeding the dogs, you ring the bell without feeding the dogs, they still salivate, associating the ringing of the bell to food. Kind of the same concept with the frogs in a round about way.
 

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The lab I work in specializes in studying anuran behavioral ecology. A master's student here is currently working on learning in amphibians and just finished her trials. I have a feeling results will be promising from what I have seen....
 

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What measure is being used to determine intelligence? I am curious, not sarcastic at all. It sounds like a very interesting study to read.

JBear
 

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I've noticed that my frogs become more active everytime I open and then closed their vivarium doors. Not really sure what that says about intelligence. Just an observation. They definately know though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh and since PDFs can learn, that suggests at least some degree of intellect. What is more, this is a quote from the book Frogs by Ellin Beltz: "A breathtaking study of frog and toad visual abilities looked at how often the tongue actually hit a televised image of a cricket...additionally, when the program ended, they looked behind the screen to see if the crickets were still lurking back there".
 

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Oh and since PDFs can learn, that suggests at least some degree of intellect. What is more, this is a quote from the book Frogs by Ellin Beltz: "A breathtaking study of frog and toad visual abilities looked at how often the tongue actually hit a televised image of a cricket...additionally, when the program ended, they looked behind the screen to see if the crickets were still lurking back there".
Yes, but remember you are talking about an animal that doesn't consider a bug that is not moving as a food item. Hunting/Exploring is one thing, but wouldn't "intelligence" inform a recognition of a prey item, still or not?

I think the argument is pretty nebulous. Groundhog had some really good comments in a previous thread about this, but it all really depends on how we perceive and define intelligence. It's hard enough to define what it means in a person, let alone a frog. As Ed points out, much of what is ascribed as intelligence is actually conditioning. Personally I don't see the distinction as clearly as he (and the literature) make it. I am firmly convinced that there are people I know that have learned very little outside of conditioning their entire lives.

Case in point: I raise many froglets to adulthood. When they are very small I pack 10 of them in a 10 gallon tank. As frogs get larger, I move them to larger, less populated tanks. Bottom line, I move frogs around occasionally. The other day I caught and moved 5 froglets to a new, previously uninhabited, densely planted tank. These frogs had lived their entire 6 months of existence in one place, and now were dropped into a new tank. Naturally they were completely FREAKED OUT and hid immediately.

They had been in the tank only about 5 minutes when I decided to feed. As soon as they heard me shake the flies over the tank they immediately rushed out...apparently snapped out of their distress. Now that is clearly conditioning, but... what would it indicate if they hadn't come out. Would that be intelligence because they overcame their conditioning with caution. Or are they intelligent enough to know that there is no threat. Or does that behavior indicate ANYTHING at all about intelligence? For that matter, is there any behavior that can indisputably indicate anything about intelligence vs. conditioning in something as alien as a amphibian? Nebulous, says I.

Conditoned? Yes. Intelligent? I don't know. Amazing either way? Definitely.
 

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I agree with this post somewhat, I too have Tincs and they do relatively the same thing.

I dust their food in a cup and then let the flies crawl out while I hold the cup in the tank. Every time that I do so they come near the cup. There is no way they could see the flies prior to once they jump out of the cup and they always show up before any crawl out.

I don't think that they are nearly as "intelligent" as my snapping turtle or as the Tiger Oscar and Green Sunfish that I used to have however.

Maybe intelligence is not the correct term for these occurrences, maybe intuition is the correct one.

And Boondoggle, you made some very great points on this discussion.
 

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but remember you are talking about an animal that doesn't consider a bug that is not moving as a food item.
What do you think about frogs that eat non-moving fruit, such as that Xenohyla truncata? I read something about this a few years ago, but do not remember what the findings concluded.
 
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