Effects of tail clipping on larval performance and tail regeneration rates in the near eastern fire salamander, Salamandra infraimmaculata

Ori Segev, Antonina Polevikove, Lior Blank, Daniel Goedbloed, Eliane Küpfer, Anna Gershberg, Avi Koplovich, Leon Blaustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tail-tip clipping is a common technique for collecting tissue samples from amphibian larvae and adults. Surprisingly, studies of this invasive sampling procedure or of natural tail clipping - i.e., bites inflicted by predators including conspecifics - on the performance and fitness of aquatic larval stages of urodeles are scarce. We conducted two studies in which we assessed the effects of posterior tail clipping (∼30 percent of tail) on Near Eastern fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) larvae. In a laboratory study, we checked regeneration rates of posterior tail-tip clipping at different ages. Regeneration rates were hump-shaped, peaking at the age of ∼30 days and then decreasing. This variation in tail regeneration rates suggests tradeoffs in resource allocation between regeneration and somatic growth during early and advanced development. In an outdoor artificial pond experiment, under constant larval densities, we assessed how tail clipping of newborn larvae affects survival to, time to, and size at metamorphosis. Repeated measures ANOVA on mean larval survival per pond revealed no effect of tail clipping. Tail clipping had correspondingly no effect on larval growth and development expressed in size (mass and snout-vent length) at, and time to, metamorphosis. We conclude that despite the given variation in tail regeneration rates throughout larval ontogeny, clipping of 30% percent of the posterior tail area seems to have no adverse effects on larval fitness and survival. We suggest that future use of this imperative tool for the study of amphibian should take into account larval developmental stage during the time of application and not just the relative size of the clipped tail sample.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0128077
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 11 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Segev et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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