Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Fall 2015


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015


Copyright @ 2015 Brooke Walsh-Appleby


Salamander species are a key component of monitoring ecosystem integrity and health as indicator species. Being able to monitor growth and development from larval to adult forms can provide important descriptive data such as growth, development, and survivorship. Passive integrated transponders (PIT) and visible implant elastomer (VIE) are two methods of permanent tagging through metamorphosis in salamander species. We were interested in what the retention rate of tags using PIT versus VIE through metamorphosis in Ambystoma mavortium. We hypothesized intramuscular PIT tags would be most successful compared to sub-cutaneous PIT tags and VIE injection. In our experiment, PIT tags retention was significantly greater than VIE retention. PIT tag injection resulted in less stress on the individual and held no statistically significant impact on growth (SVL and weight). We recommend using intramuscular PIT tags as a marking technique through metamorphosis in Ambystoma mavortium. This tagging method provides a high retention probability, but is limited by sample size and funding. Large scale experiments with greater sample size may choose to avoid costly PIT tags.