ESR 11:183-188 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00253

Return rates of male hylid frogs Litoria genimaculata, L. nannotis, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi after toe-tipping

Andrea D. Phillott1,2,*, Keith R. McDonald1,3, Lee F. Skerratt1,2

1Amphibian Disease Ecology Group and 2School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
3Threatened Species Branch, Department of Environment and Resource Management, PO Box 975, Atherton, Queensland 4883, Australia

ABSTRACT: Toe-tipping is a commonly used procedure for mark-recapture studies of frogs, although it has been criticised for its potential influence on frog behaviour, site fidelity and mortality. We compared 24 h return rates of newly toe-tipped frogs to those previously toe-tipped and found no evidence of a stress response reflected by avoidance behaviour for 3 species: Litoria genimaculata, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi. L. nannotis was the only studied species to demonstrate a greater reaction to toe-tipping than handling alone; however, return rates (65%) in the 1 to 3 mo after marking were the highest of any species, showing that the reaction did not endure. The comparatively milder short-term response to toe-tipping in N. dayi (24% return rate) may have been caused by the species’ reduced opportunity for breeding. Intermediate-term return rates were relatively high for 2 species, L. nannotis and L. genimaculata, given their natural history, suggesting there were no major adverse effects of toe-tipping. Longer-term adverse effects could not be ruled out for L. rheocola and N. dayi, which had relatively moderate intermediate-term return rates (33 and 36%, respectively). We recommend that future studies directly observe the health effects of toe-tipping, are longer term and consider alternative marking methods.


KEY WORDS: Frog · Toe-tipping · Mark-recapture · Return rate


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Cite this article as: Phillott AD, McDonald KR, Skerratt LF (2010) Return rates of male hylid frogs Litoria genimaculata, L. nannotis, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi after toe-tipping. Endang Species Res 11:183-188. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00253

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