Plaster Models to Measure Operative Temperature and Evaporative Water Loss of Amphibians

Christopher Tracy, G Betts, Keith Christian

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present a new, plaster model for measuring operative environmental temperature (T e) and water loss of amphibians with little or no cutaneous resistance to water loss. These models are made from molds of live animals, cast in plaster of Paris, and can be fitted with water reservoirs that allow them to be used for extended periods. Plaster models did not differ significantly in T e or water loss rate from either identically shaped models made of 3% agar and measured in a wind tunnel or from live cane toads (Bufo marinus) measured outdoors in a variety of conditions. Thus, plaster models offer an accurate measure of both T e and water loss across a range of environmental conditions. The plaster models are also relatively simple to make and offer several advantages over other model types, in that they are durable, they do not shrink like agar models, they can be colored to match absorptivity of live animals, and they can be made in postures representative of live animals. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)597-603
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Herpetology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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