Effects of tail-clipping on survivorship and growth of larval salamanders

Authors

  • Rebecca L. Polich,

    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
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  • Christopher A. Searcy,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Evolution and Ecology and Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
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  • H. Bradley Shaffer

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
    2. La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Carola Haas

E-mail: casearcy@ucdavis.edu

ABSTRACT

Tissue samples used for genetic analyses are increasingly necessary for proper management of rare or endangered species, yet growing evidence suggests that traditional methods used to sample or mark amphibians have detrimental fitness effects. We used a semi-natural mesocosm experiment to determine the effect of larval tail-clipping on growth and survival of the endangered California tiger salamander. Even with relatively extreme levels of tail loss, we found no effect on survival, mass, or snout-vent length. We recommend larval tail-clipping as a low-impact method for collecting tissue samples from pond-breeding amphibians. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

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