Body Condition Scores for Management of Captive Frog Species
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Jordan Gentry1, DVM; Jessica Nelson2; J. Jill Heatley1, DVM, MS, DABVP (Avian), DACZM
1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA; 2National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD, USA


Assessing body condition in amphibians can provide early signs of disease or can be used as part of ongoing population health monitoring. Amphibians represent diverse species that may preclude an easily applied and accurate scoring system, but amphibian body condition indexes have been used to identify reproductive activity, compare habitat types, and evaluate movement behaviors in wild amphibians.2,4,6 Additionally, body condition has been shown to negatively correlate with physiological stress, and decreases in condition have been linked to global warming trends.3,5 Patterns of lipid deposition have been described in many amphibian species, and this information can be applied to management of captive amphibian management.1 This poster details application of body condition scores in the management of a large dendrobatid frog collection in a zoological setting.

Literature Cited

1.  Fitzpatrick LC. Life history patterns of storage and utilization of lipids for energy in amphibians. Am. Zool. 1976;16:725–732.

2.  Lowe WH, Likens GE, Cosentino BJ. Self-organisation in streams: the relationship between movement behavior and body condition in a headwater salamander. Freshw Biol. 2006;51:2052–2062.

3.  Matthews KR. Response of mountain yellow-legged frogs, Rana muscosa, to short distance translocation. J Herpetol. 2003;37:621–626.

4.  Sztatecsny M, Schabatsberger R. Into thin air: vertical migration, body condition, and quality of terrestrial habitats of alpine common toads, Bufo bufo. Can J Zool. 2005;83:788–796.

5.  Reading CJ. Linking global warming to amphibian declines through its effects on female body condition and survivorship. Oecologia. 2007;151:125–131.

6.  Reyer HU, Battig I. Identification of reproductive status in female frogs: a quantitative comparison of nine methods. Herpetologica. 2004;60:349–357.


Speaker Information
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Jordan Gentry, DVM
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX, USA

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