Field endocrinology research through the quantification of glucocorticoids or stress hormones in free-living wildlife is crucial for assessing their physiological responses towards pervasive environmental changes. Urinary corticosterone metabolite (UCM) enzyme–immunoassay (EIA) has been validated for numerous amphibian species as a non-invasive measure of physiological stress. Body-condition indices (BCIs) have also been widely used in amphibians as an indirect measure of animal health. Field endocrinology research on amphibian species in Asia is limited. In this study, we validated a UCM EIA in a peri-urban sub-population of the common Asian toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Pune, Maharashtra, India. We determined the baseline levels of UCMs in male (n = 39) and female (n = 19) toads. Secondly, we used a standard capture handling protocol to quantify changes in UCMs during short-term captivity. We also determined BCIs in the male and female toads using Fulton's index (K) and residual condition index (RCI). The results showed that mean baseline levels of UCMs were significantly higher in male toads than in females. There was no significant change in mean levels of UCMs of males and females between capture and captivity (0–12 h). This highlights plausible habituation of the species to the peri-urban environment. Associations between UCMs with BCIs (K and R) were positive in male toads but negative in females. In conclusion, our UCMs EIA can be applied with BCIs to assess health of the Asian toads. We also suggest that direct fitness parameters such as sperm and oocyte quality, reproductive ecology and immunocompetence measurements should be applied in combination with these conservation physiology tools to quantify the fitness consequences of pervasive environmental changes on native amphibians.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology|
|Early online date||2015|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|