The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 06. Visible implant elastomer tagging and toe-clipping: effects of marking on locomotor performance of frogs and skinks

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Open Access

pp. 99-105
Authors: Schmidt, Katrin & Schwarzkopf, Lin

Abstract: Marking for identification of previously captured animals is a critical aspect of many types of ecological studies. Marking animals may affect performance, which in turn could influence survival. We compared the effects of toe-clipping and elastomer tagging on the locomotor performance of frogs (jump distance) and skinks (running speed and endurance). We examined the immediate effect of marking, and the effect after a recovery period of two weeks. Jump distance decreased across all treatment groups in frogs immediately after marking, but toe-clipped individuals jumped less far in relation to their original jump distance than did elastomer tagged or control frogs. After two weeks, there was a relative increase in jump distance of the toe-clipped frogs, but for all groups performance was lower than at the start of the experiment. In skinks, both marking methods reduced skink endurance, and toe-clipping had a stronger negative effect on running speed than did elastomer tagging. After two weeks, skink endurance and running speed increased to above the initial measures for all treatment groups. Overall, toe-clipping had stronger immediate effects on locomotor performance, indicating that elastomer tagging may be a marginally better marking method.

Keywords: RUNNING SPEED, ENDURANCE, LITORIA NASUTA, CARLIA PECTORALIS, MARKING TECHNIQUES

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