Journal article

Clipping the Tail Fin Enables Cohort Identification of Small Anuran Tadpoles

Gregory S Clarke, Benjamin L Phillips, Richard Shine

Copeia | American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists | Published : 2019


Because of their small size and fragility, larvae of many amphibian species are difficult to mark unambiguously for experimental studies. This constraint limits our ability to run experiments in which individual interactions matter and so limits our ability to study how social behaviors affect individual fitness. We anesthetized small (30 days and had only minimal effects on tadpole growth, survival, and swimming performance. Marking the membrane of a tadpole tail fin provides a cost-effective method for cohort marking with minimal equipment and training. It also provides the opportunity to gather extra data on an individual (such as DNA) with minimal further stress to the animal.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Greg Brown and Maddie Sanders for their support and assistance. This study was conducted under the approval of the University of Sydney Animal Care and Ethics Committee (Protocol Number 2016/1120) and was funded by the Australian Research Council (Grant Number FT120100095).