Stomach content analysis

Richard Wassersug Tadpole at ac.dal.ca
Thu May 9 19:23:46 EST 1996

        A graduate student here at Dalhousie University is beginning some
field work on the amphibians in Fundy National Park.  She is interested in
determining what, when, and where the amphibians are eating.  She has
quadrates set up with drift fences and pit traps.  
        The student has asked me if there is any easy and safe way to study
the stomach contents of these animals without having to sacrifice them. 
Her herps range in size from _Plethodon cinereus_ to _Rana catesbeiana_. 
I've never done any stomach content analyses so I can't help her much with
the project.  Can anyone out there help her?  
What she needs to know is:
1.      The easiest way to get stomach contents out of these anurans and
2.      The simplest way to assess stomach contents, in terms of
nutritional worth?  In other words, is it worth trying to get wet mass, dry
mass or volume on the contents? Or are such measurements considered totally
worthless compared to more thorough nutritional analysis (e.g., lipid
content, dry ash weight etc.)?
3.      What are good references on stomach content analyses for adult
North American amphibians ?  [Does anyone still do these types of

        All help here would be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly,     

Richard Wassersug   

        Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
        Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building
        Dalhousie University
        Halifax, Nova Scotia
        B3H 4H7

        Tel. 902-494-2244
        Fax 902-494-1212

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