While tail clipping of amphibian tadpoles is known to be one of the minimally invasive methods for genetic sampling, there is a lack of published standard and safe protocol. Here we determined the efficiency of a protocol where we tail clipped 3.0 mm of four Rana huanrenensis tadpoles, matching with attempted predation in the wild.
We observed the tails resorbing from tail length = 20.625 ± 0.64 mm on day 0 post-clipping to 5.75 ± 3.49 mm on day 6 post-clipping. During this period, metamorphosis progressed for individuals tail-clipped at Gosner stage 34 (total length: 33.75 ± 2.35 mm; day 0 post-clipping) to Gosner stage 43 (total length: 28.5 ± 3.47 mm; day 6 post-clipping); and individuals tail-clipped at Gosner stage 41 (total length: 35.75 ± 0.35 mm; day 0 post-clipping) to Gosner stage 46 (total length: 15.00 ± 0.00 mm; day 6 post-clipping). We did not record any fatality during the experiment.
DNA extracted from 3.0 mm of tail tip tis-sue yielded gDNA concentrations between 10 and 32 ng/μl, a sufficient amount for barcoding and fingerprinting. We conclude that this protocol is adequate for R. huanrenensis and Ranidae in general, and it is safe for tadpoles at Gosner stage 34 and above.
Othman S. N, Chuang M-F., Kang H., Bae Y., Kim A., Jang Y. & Borzée A. (2020) Methodological guidelines for minimally invasive tail-clipping: a case study from Rana huanrenensis tadpoles. Asian Journal of Biological Conservation. 9(2):188-195.