Anuran artifacts of preservation: 27 years later


  • Jessica L. Deichmann Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Jeff Boundy Louisiana State University; Museum of Natural Science
  • G. Bruce Williamson Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute



Anura, morphology, museum collections, snout-urostyle length, shrinkage


Measurements made on preserved anuran specimens are often used in studies of systematics, ecology and evolution. Here, we examine the effect of preservation on one of the most common measurement of frogs, snout-urostyle length (SUL). Preservation had significant effects on the SUL of 13 of the 14 species of North American frogs included in this study, with all species decreasing in SUL by 0.31-5.62%. Smaller frog species did not shrink proportionally more or less than larger species. Absolute shrinkage was correlated with SUL and was greater in larger species. Within species, percent shrinkage was not significantly correlated with SUL in 10 species, but significantly greater for larger individuals in 3 species, and decreased with size in 1 species. Absolute shrinkage was statistically greater for larger individuals in 4 species. Our results agree with studies of morphological permutations in fish which show that most preservation-related changes take place within the first few months after initial preservation. We suggest that the potential consequences of using preserved specimens in research must be considered and that future studies continue to examine preservation effects, not only on frogs, but on all preserved specimens used in scientific investigations.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Deichmann, J. L., Boundy, J., & Williamson, G. B. (2009). Anuran artifacts of preservation: 27 years later. Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 8(1), 51-58.