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

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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.
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Keywords: CARLIA PECTORALIS; ENDURANCE; LITORIA NASUTA; MARKING TECHNIQUES; RUNNING SPEED

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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