Consistency of Coloration Pattern and Applicability of Photo Identification Method as a Tool to Identify Individuals of the Kaiser’s Mountain Newt, Neurergus kaiseri

Somaye Vaissi, Hossein Farassat, Vahid Akmali, Mozafar Sharifi


In this study, we investigated the use of the dorsal coloration pattern of larval, post-metamorphic and adult Neurergus kaiseri in order to develop a non-invasive photo-identification method to identify individuals of this species. Development of color pattern of larval and post-metamorphic newts until to reach to a pattern constancy was studied by consecutive photography during one year. In all transparent larval newts, we observed that random distributed pigment cells gradually accumulate along dorsal line and midbody lateral line during the first half of the larval period, and following localization in early post metamorphosis remains unchanged thereafter. Also, in a separate experiment we evaluated accuracy (% matching) and efficiency (time required for each matching) of visual judgments (true recognition or matching and false recognition or miss-matching) by naive observers when they recognized 150 individual’s adult newts based on their pattern coloration in colored photographs. In all visual judgments of photographic identification trials based on true and false recognitions in naive observer using different dorsal parts the success rate averaged 99.9 ± 0.3. The mean success rate in false recognition was 99.9% ranging from 99.7 to 100%. Assessment of accuracy of photo-identification method by true recognition yielded 100% success rate.


Neurergus kaiseri; ontogeny; photo-identification; capture-mark-recapture

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