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Genetic markers reveal high PIT tag retention rates in giant salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

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Estimation of population size using mark-recapture (MRR) methods are based on the fundamental assumption that individuals retain their marks throughout the course of study. Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags are useful as a cost effective, reliable marking method in many amphibian and reptile species. Few studies however, use secondary methods to evaluate tag retention rates. Failure to do so can lead to biased population estimates, erroneous conclusions, and thus poor management decisions. Surprisingly, estimates of PIT tag retention are currently lacking for the majority of amphibian species, many of which are experiencing population declines. Herein, we use genetic tagging to assess the retention of PIT tags of the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). We captured and tagged 78 individuals across 35 sites. Recapture rate was 24% and genetic tagging revealed 100% tag retention across all recaptured individuals.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University, 195 Marstellar Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907, USA

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853812x641712
2012-01-02
2016-12-03

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