Monitoring Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) response to weather with the use of a passive integrated transponder (PIT) system

Journal of Herpetology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Eastern Spadefoots (Scaphiopus holbrookii) are probably one of the least-understood amphibian species in the United States. In New England, populations are localized and it is likely that some populations go undocumented because of the species' cryptic habits. We used passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) to monitor burrow emergence with the aid of continuously running, stationary (but portable) PIT tag readers. We monitored the activity of individual Eastern Spadefoots by placing circular antennae directly over burrows of PIT tag-implanted individuals. We monitored 18 Eastern Spadefoots from 1 to 84 nights in the spring, summer, and fall of 2009–2011. Our results indicate that, on average, Eastern Spadefoots emerged on 43% of the nights that they were monitored. Nights when Eastern Spadefoots emerged were warmer and more humid than nonemergence nights. Eastern Spadefoots were also much more likely to emerge on a given night if they had emerged the night before. Our results have improved the understanding of Eastern Spadefoot burrow-emergence patterns in the northeast region. Our findings may considerably enhance the prospect of employing nocturnal visual encounter surveys as a method for monitoring known, and detecting previously undocumented, populations of this species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Monitoring Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) response to weather with the use of a passive integrated transponder (PIT) system
Series title Journal of Herpetology
DOI 10.1670/12-230
Volume 49
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 7 p.
First page 257
Last page 263
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N