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.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 01.Extremely low amphibian roadkill probability on busy bicycle paths


Open Access


pp. 1-5

Authors: Michaël A. Eijkelkamp, Mirjam J. Borger, Ruben Kluit & Jan Komdeur

Abstract: Road mortality can have a significant negative impact on amphibian population survival. Amphibian roadkill and how to avoid it are therefore widely studied, mostly on car roads but limitedly on bicycle paths. We investigated whether amphibian mortality on bicycle paths in Bargerveen, a Dutch Natura 2000 site, was affected by the number of passing cyclists and crossing amphibians. We investigated four transects on a daily basis during most of the amphibian spring migration in 2021. We counted and identified (to species level) all killed amphibians; further, we used cyclist counters and toad fences to assess the number of passing bicycles and crossing amphibians, respectively. We found 11 killed smooth newts Lissotriton vulgaris, out of 5,037 that crossed the bicycle paths. Although 11,453 anurans crossed, we found no killed anurans. The occurrence of killed smooth newts was not affected by the number of passing bicycles or crossing newts. The probability of being killed was extremely low for crossing smooth newts (0.22 %) and anurans (0 %), possibly because cyclists successfully avoid cycling over amphibians. Future monitoring should occur from early February to late November to include the complete active period of amphibians including juvenile dispersal, and across multiple successive years because amphibian numbers can vary largely between years. During our study period, however, amphibian mortality on bicycle paths in Bargerveen seems no threat to populations, despite the high numbers of cyclists. 

Keywords: road ecology, animal-cyclist collisions, smooth newts, anurans, conservation

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