How common is common? Rapidly assessing population size and structure of the frog Mantidactylus betsileanus at a site in east-central Madagascar

Devin Edmonds, Ethan Kessler, Leonard Bolte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Population-level data are urgently needed for amphibians in light of the ongoing amphibian extinction crisis. Studies focused on population dynamics are not only important for rare species but also for common species which shape ecosystems to a greater degree than those that are rare. Some of the greatest global amphibian species diversity is found in Madagascar, yet there are few studies on the ecology of frog species on the island. We carried out a mark-recapture study on the widespread frog Mantidactylus betsileanus (Mantellidae: Mantellinae: Mantidactylus) at two adjacent rainforest sites in east-central Madagascar to assess its population size and structure. To do so, we validated and implemented an individual identification protocol using photographs of the ventral patterns of frogs and identified individuals with photographic-matching software. Using this rapid, non-invasive survey method, we were able to estimate a density of 26 and 28 frogs per 100 m2 at each of the two sites sampled. Our results show the rainforests near the village of Andasibe, Madagascar support remarkably high amphibian abundance, helping illustrate the significant ecological role of frogs in this ecosystem. Further, individual frog markings allowed us to develop more precise estimates than traditional survey methods. This study provides a blueprint to augment existing population studies or develop new monitoring programs in Madagascar and beyond.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1203
Number of pages8
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume44
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Keywords

  • INHS
  • photo identification
  • population modelling
  • capture-mark-recapture
  • Madagascar
  • amphibian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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