Inflammation in digits of unmarked and toe-tipped wild hylids

Phillott, Andrea D., McDonald, Keith R., and Skerratt, Lee F. (2011) Inflammation in digits of unmarked and toe-tipped wild hylids. Wildlife Research, 38 (3). pp. 204-207.

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Context: The use of toe-tipping (removal of the toe pad) in mark–recapture studies of anurans is controversial because of the unknown risk of infection and potential impact on animal survival.

Aims: We compared the inflammation rates of digits in unmarked and toe-tipped wild hylid frogs (Litoria genimaculata, L. nannotis, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi) to determine if marked amphibians present with a greater proportion of affected digits than unmarked animals.

Methods: We examined marked and unmarked frogs captured on streams in northern Queensland over a 12-month period for phalangeal inflammation.

Key results: Of 777 unmarked frogs, 0.4% presented with digits showing inflammation because of natural causes. After toe-tipping, 59.1% of the frogs were recaptured within a mean of 97 days ± standard deviation of 102 days, with macroscopic inflammation observed in 1.3% of marked animals. The proportion of marked frogs with inflamed, toe-tipped digits did not differ significantly from that of inflamed digits in unmarked frogs (Fisher exact test P = 0.085) but the odds ratio (3.417, 0.851–13.730) indicated a greater likelihood of inflamed digits occurring in toe-tipped than unmarked frogs.

Conclusions: Although the risk of inflammation increased 3-fold in marked hylids, the low proportion of frogs affected (1.3%) indicated the potential pathological risk of toe-tipping did not outweigh the benefits of using the marking method.

Implications: This study suggests that toe-tipping may be an appropriate and relatively safe marking method in stream-dwelling hylid populations.

Item ID: 21400
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5494
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2012 06:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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