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.
- photo identification
- population modelling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics