The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

The 2017/18  impact factor of The Herpetological Journal is 1.268

pdf 02. Monitoring amphibian species with complex chromatophore patterns: a non-invasive approach with an evaluation of software effectiveness and reliability


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pp. 13-22

Authors: Julien Renet, Lisa Leprêtre, Jocelyn Champagnon & Philippe Lambret

Abstract: The estimation of demographic parameters in wild populations is strengthened by individual identification. For amphibians, various techniques are used to either temporarily or permanently mark individuals for identification. Photo-identification of body patterns offers a non-invasive technique. However, the reliability of photo-recognition software is key to the reliable estimation of the true demographic parameters. In the current study, we assessed the effectiveness of fully-automated and semi-automated software: Wild-ID and APHIS. We used the cryptic salamander Hydromantes strinatii as our study species. We used the False Rejection Rate (FRR) of Top 1, Top 5 and Top 10 matches of chest and cloaca pictures. Finally, we assessed the bias induced by our FRR for the estimation of population size through simulation. Wild-ID FRRs ranged from 0.042 to 0.093 while APHIS’ ranged from 0.227 to 0.547. Wild-ID was equally efficient with pictures from the chest and from the cloaca, while APHIS was significantly more efficient with chest pictures than cloaca pictures. Cropping pictures did not significantly improve Wild-ID effectiveness. Our Wild-ID FRRs are among the lowest ever obtained from pictures of an amphibian with a complex chromatophore pattern. Simulation showed that the Top 10 FRR from selected software Wild-ID induced a low bias 2.7% on the estimation of population size. The effectiveness and plasticity of Wild-ID provides opportunities for reliably monitoring amphibian species with complex colour patterns.

Key words: Photographic identification, Wild-ID, APHIS, False Rejection Rate, Hydromantes strinatii, demographic
parameters, monitoring

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