Collection of blood from amphibians, as in other classes of vertebrate animals, is essential to evaluate parameters of health, diagnose hemoparasitism, identify viral and bacterial pathogens, and measure antibodies. Various methods of blood collection have been described for amphibians. Most can be cumbersome (venipucture of femoral vein, ventral abdominal vein or lingual venus plexus) or result in pain or deleterious health consequences (cardiac puncture and toe-clipping). We describe an easy and practical technique to collect blood from frogs and toads that can be used in multiple species and is minimally invasive. The technique consists of puncturing either the facial or, less commonly, the musculo-cutaneous vein and collecting the blood with a capillary tube. These veins run dorsal and parallel to the maxillary bone and can be accessed by quick insertion and withdrawal of a needle through the skin between the upper jawline and the rostral or caudal side of the tympanum. The needle should be of 27 or 30 gauge for anurans weighing more or less than 25 g, respectively. Although the technique has been used by some amphibian researchers for years, it is little known by others and has never been fully described in a peer-reviewed publication.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1