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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

The highly fossorial habits of adult mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) have made them difficult to study. We assessed the usefulness of subcutaneously implanted reflector tags for relocating mole salamanders in the terrestrial environment using harmonic radar detection. We determined maximum detection depth of tags with varying antenna lengths. In addition, we subcutaneously implanted tags into mole salamanders to assess retention and effect of tags on body weight during a 60-day period. We were able to detect tags of all antenna lengths as deep as 30 cm below the soil. Only 29% of mole salamanders implanted with tags retained them for the entire 60 days. We believe that retention rate of subcutaneously implanted tags needs to be improved before this technique can be widely ap­plied in the field.

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