Recent widespread amphibian declines call for better techniques to assess population dynamics. Tetracycline as a biomarker in capture-recapture studies is one technique used successfully in fish, reptiles, and mammals. A two-phase experimental study was conducted to evaluate tetracycline as a biomarker in green frogs (Rana clamitans) and pickerel frogs (Rana palustris). In the first experimental phase tadpoles were exposed to water containing either 250 mg/l or 500 mg/l tetracycline for a period of 24 hr. During the second phase, juvenile frogs were exposed to tetracycline in water at 500 mg/l or given injections of tetracycline at the dose rate of 100 mg/kg body weight. At selected times several weeks later, under tricaine methanesulfonate anesthesia, a toe was surgically excised from each animal, sectioned and viewed under an ultraviolet microscope. No significant differences were found between the various treatments and control animals (untreated). Therefore, the use of tetracycline as a biomarker in anurans using these techniques is not recommended.
Additional publication details
Failure of tetracycline as a biomarker in batch-marking juvenile frogs