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Evaluation of three tagging methods in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum

  • Ruber Rodríguez-Barreras (a1) and Alberto M. Sabat (a1)


Multiple tagging devices have been developed for long-term studies and estimating demographic parameters in sea urchins. In this study, we evaluated the use of passive integrated transponders (PIT-tag), and two types of nylon tags (T-bar and S-tag) in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum by measuring retention rate and apparent survival. The PIT-tags exhibited the highest retention, followed by T-bars, and lastly the S-tags. Differences in recapture were detected among the three types of tags (H = 6.99, P = 0.030). An a posteriori pairwise comparison test found significant differences between PIT-tags and each of the other two types (P < 0.05), whereas T-bar and S-tag did not exhibit significant differences between them (P > 0.05). The semi-captivity experiment exhibited similar results to the field experiment in terms of retention. This experiment also found higher mortality with T-bars. Differences between previous studies conducted under controlled conditions and experiments carried out in the field reflect high variability and the necessity of testing tagging procedures under both settings. The S-tag induced high spine autotomy and low retention; whereas the T-bar demonstrated low retention and low survival. Although the retention rate of PIT-tags was significantly higher than the other two, retention rates were still too low for practical utility in long-term field experiments. In conclusion, the present study does not support the use of any of these tags for long-term studies in D. antillarum.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: R. Rodríguez-Barreras, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 23360, San Juan, PR 00931-3360 email:


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Evaluation of three tagging methods in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum

  • Ruber Rodríguez-Barreras (a1) and Alberto M. Sabat (a1)


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