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Studies on the growth and longevity of the yellow-bellied toad, Bombina variegata, in natural environments

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Yellow-bellied toads were studied in their natural environment in a mountain locality in southeastern Poland. 608 specimens were captured, marked by yellow skin autografts placed in different parts of their dorsal surface according to body length, and released. Some of them were recaptured and measured from one to nine years later to estimate their growth and longevity. Yellow-bellied toads grew rapidly in early life; thereafter their growth was very limited. Body size was not an accurate age indicator of an individual of this species. The body length 51-55 mm was maximal in this locality. Yellow-bellied toads were long-lived in nature, some individuals surviving for much more than ten years, and perhaps even more than 20 years. The skeletochronological technique (counting the growth lines in phalangeal cross-sections of the clipped toes of some marked individuals) underestimated the actual age of these animals.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Evolutionary Immunology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, M. Karasia 6, 30-060 Kraków, Poland; 2: Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, Academy of Agriculture, 29 Listopoda 54, 31-425 Kraków, Poland


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