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.

The 2017/18  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 1.268

  pdfBHS Ethics Policy

Download Access:

  • The latest 20 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.
  • Individual articles can be purchased for download.
  • Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download

pdf 02. Review: Skeletochronological assessment of demographic life-history traits in amphibians

1043 downloads

Open Access

Authors: Sinsch, Ulrich

Abstract: A long-standing challenge for amphibian population ecologists is the reliable estimation of age in individuals without known recapture history. The development and widespread application of skeletochronology seems to have solved the issue, although studies evaluating the precision and reliability of age estimates are rare and controversial. Skeletochronology attempts to relate the number of dense hematoxylinophilic narrow growth marks (Lines of Arrested Growth, LAGs) separated by faintly stained broad growth zones in the round bones of Anura and Caudata with age. In this review, I briefly summarise the laboratory procedures to obtain informative histological cross sections, and the interpretation of growth marks becoming visible through staining. I discuss the precision and constraints of skeletochronological age estimation by evaluating evidence derived from individuals with known age. Individuals of up to eight years of age are correctly aged by LAG-counting, whereas the lifespan of older individuals is systematically underestimated, due to the increasing rapprochement of LAGs at the periphery of bones. A case study on the latitudinal and altitudinal variation of demographic life-history traits in natterjack toads illustrates the utility of skeletochronology to assess plasticity of age distributions in response to climate variation. Finally, I provide perspectives for future research to which skeletochronology may contribute valuable information.

Keywords: LIFE HISTORY, AGE AT MATURITY, LONGEVITY, SKELETOCHRONOLOGY, GROWTH PATTERN, LARGE-SCALE VARIATION AMONG AND WITHIN SPECIES

Submissions:

For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

 

 

NOTE: as of January 2017, all new editions of the HJ are ONLY available online via the BHS website. The BHS no longer has a commercial hosting agreement with Ingenta  -  although editions prior to end 2016 remain accessible on Ingenta .  Those editions are of course also accessible on the BHS website for subscribers with an active and valid membership.  Should you experience any difficulty accessing HJ editions via the website or have any queries in this regard, please contact