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 03. How does captivity affect skin colour reflectance of golden mantella frogs?


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pp. 13-19

Authors: Luiza F Passos, Gerardo Garcia & Robert Young

Abstract:  Coloration is an important trait for social communication in amphibians, being used in intra- and intersexual signalling to express information about individual body condition and health state, amongst other things. The striking colour pattern exhibited by some anuran species are also used in “aposematic” signals to advertise unpalatability to predators. The aim of this study was to investigate how the captive environment affects the colour of golden mantella frogs by comparing captive reared frogs with wild conspecifics. A USB-2000 portable diode-array spectrometer and a xenon strobe light source were used to perform spectrophotometric measurements on captive and wild populations. Hue, chroma and brightness of skin colour were analysed as well as body condition using the scaled mass index. Analyses showed variation among populations, but significant differences were only found between captive and wild populations. Generalised linear mixed models were used to evaluate the effects of body condition on colour variation and showed that animals with lower body condition from one captive population had significantly different coloration than their wild counterparts. Importantly, one captive population was not greatly different in coloration from their wild counterparts – demonstrating that this problem is not inevitable in captivity. These results can have important implications for reintroduction programmes.

Keywords: amphibians, body condition, coloration, conservation

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