Measuring terrestrial movements of small animals poses a substantial technological challenge. We developed very long (up to 130 m) passive integrated transponder (PIT) detectors with which we tracked salamanders (Caudata) migrating from breeding ponds to their upland habitat >200 m away. In all 60 trials, salamanders were detected when released near the antennae. In a second test, we tracked 7 of 14 tagged marbled salamanders (Ambystoma opacum) migrating >65 m, well beyond the area protected by existing wetland buffer regulations in Massachusetts, USA. The mean rate of movement for these salamanders (x ¯ = 0.9 m/min; SE = 0.1 m/min) was substantially higher than rates of movement reported for related salamanders with radio-implants. These PIT antennae offer researchers a means to study small animal movements with less disruption of the animals' natural movement patterns than is caused by other available techniques.
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Vol. 73 • No. 7