Quick search




SCSB, Volume X


Animal biology


Mark-recapture techniques are widely used in amphibian demographical studies (Beausoleil et al., 2004; Donnely et al., 1994; Schmidt, 2003). A variety of marking techniques are available for adult amphibians, with permanent or temporary marks, either date-specific or individual specific. Long-term studies, including monitoring, require permanent marks, that ideally should be individual-specific. Among the marking techniques used for adult amphibians are: toe clipping, pattern mapping (Donnely et al., 1994), branding (Donnely et al., 1994; Ehmann, 2002), passive integrated transponders and microtags (Sinsch, 1992; Jehle & Hödl, 1998), skin grafting (Rafinski, 1977; Plytycz & Bigaj, 1993), the use of polymers and pigments (Donnely et al., 1994; Cogãlniceanu, 1997).

The ideal mark should be as free of pain and/or stress as possible, allow the individual identification of the animal, be easy to apply in the laboratory and the field, cost-effective and able to utilize materials that are easy to obtain, should not cause death or have sub-lethal effects on fitness, or influence the behavior and detection probability of the marked individuals (Beausoleil et al., 2004).

The most frequently used marking technique for amphibians is toe clipping. This marking technique involves some level of stress and tissue damage that might increase the risk of infection (Parris & McCarthy, 2001; McCarthy & Parris, 2004; May, 2004; Funk et al., 2005).

Pattern mapping was until recently a rather costly and time-consuming technique. The decrease in cost of digital cameras and their improved quality has made this technique more attractive, since it allows the rapid marking of large number of individuals in the field. It is similar to the finger prints technique used in individual human identification for over a century.

Pattern mapping was used in a variety of amphibian species for the identification of both adults (Loafman, 1991) and larvae (Eitam & Blaustein, 2002). This marking technique is limited only to those species of amphibians that have highly variable dorsal (among Romanian taxa: Salamandra salamandra, Rana temporaria, Pelobates fuscus, P. syriacus, Bufo viridis) or ventral (e.g. Triturus vulgaris, T. dobrogicus, T. cristatus, Bombina sp.) color patterns. Most attention was given to Bombina sp., for belly pattern identification of hybrids (Covaciu-Marcov et al., 2004; Voros et al., 2002), but also for individual identification (Delarze et al., 2000; Seidel et al., 2001). In this paper we present a simple method for individual recognition of the yellow bellied toad (Bombina variegata) based on belly pattern.


marking technique, Bombina variegata, ventral pattern, digital identification, identification code.

Code [ID]:

SCSB200510V10S01A0001 [0002566]

Copyright (c) 1995-2007 University of Bacău