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Capture-recapture data with partially known birth date in four populations of yellow-bellied toads

Cite this dataset

Cayuela, Hugo et al. (2019). Capture-recapture data with partially known birth date in four populations of yellow-bellied toads [Dataset]. Dryad.


1.    Patterns of actuarial senescence can be highly variable among species. Previous comparative analyses revealed that both age at the onset of senescence and rates of senescence are linked to species position along the fast-slow life-history continuum. As there are few long-term datasets of wild populations with known-age individuals, intraspecific (i.e. between-population) variation in senescence is understudied and limited to comparisons of wild and captive populations of the same species, mostly birds and mammals. 
2.      In this paper, we examined how population position along the fast-slow life history continuum affects intraspecific variation in senescence in an amphibian, Bombina variegata. 
3.      We used capture-recapture data collected in four populations with contrasting life history strategies. Senescence trajectories were analyzed using Bayesian capture-recapture models.
4.      We show that in fast populations the onset of actuarial senescence was earlier and individuals aged at a faster rate than individuals in slow populations. 
5.      Our study provides one of the few empirical examples of among-population variation in actuarial senescence patterns in the wild and confirms that the fast-slow life history gradient is associated with both macroevolutionary and microevolutionary patterns of actuarial senescence.


In each population, individuals were surveyed during the breeding season, from 5 – 9 years using capture-recapture methods. The number of identified individuals was 1154 at SLOW1, 768 at SLOW2, 580 at FAST1 and 9418 at FAST2. The number of captures was 2907 at SLOW1, 1980 at SLOW2, 949 at FAST1 and 12780 at FAST2. Capture sessions were carried out during the breeding season from late May to July. Toads were captured by hand or with a dip net during daylight hours (09:00–19:00). The entire study areas were carefully checked every year in order to census all available waterbodies, which were sampled at each capture. The time required to sample the entire study area in a single session varied from 1 (SLOW1) to 15 days (FAST2). We identified each individual by the specific pattern of black and yellow mottles on its belly, which were recorded by photographs. To minimize misidentification errors, multiple comparisons of individual patterns were performed using the pattern-matching software Extract Compare. In this species, individuals cannot be individually identified before an age of one because the ventral color pattern used to identify individuals is not fixed before that age. Yet, this method permits to survey the toads for the rest of their lives in a non-invasive way. Only individuals can be aged which are one or two years old at first capture, leading to partially known birth date. Sex cannot be assessed with certainty before sexual maturity (2-3 years old) due to the lack of nuptial pads in immature males.

Usage notes

We provide here capture-recapture data collected in four populations of yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) in France. The populations FAST1 and FAST2 experience unpredictable environments (i.e., harvested woodland) whereas populations SLOW1 and SLOW2 occur in predictable environments (riverine habitat).

In the dataset of each population, the first column is the individual ID. In the second and third columns, there is the birth date and death date ('0' is given if the date is unknown). Then come the capture histories.