Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effectiveness of two tagging devices in the sea cucumber Holothuria (Halodeima) grisea

Ruber Rodríguez-Barreras A C , Julián López-Morell B and Alberto M. Sabat B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón, Department of Biology, Zona Industrial Minillas 170 PR-174 Bayamón, PR 00959-1919, Puerto Rico.

B University of Puerto Rico, Río piedras campus, Department of Biology, PO Box 23360 San Juan, PR 00931-3360, Puerto Rico.

C Corresponding author. Email: ruber.rodriguez@upr.edu

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(3) 563-567 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15473
Submitted: 27 December 2015  Accepted: 3 March 2016   Published: 24 May 2016

Abstract

A reliable and harmless mark–recapture method provides valuable information for the management of commercial sea cucumber species. Nevertheless, marking and tracking sea cucumbers is notoriously difficult and represents a serious challenge. In this study, we tested one external and one internal tag in the sea cucumber Holothuria grisea. A passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag was inserted into the coelomic cavity in one treatment, whereas a T-bar (external tag) was attached in the upper surface of the body wall in the other treatment; sea cucumbers were then followed for 17 weeks. The tagging procedure caused no evisceration in the experimental groups, nor was a significant difference in growth rate found between treatments. The retention of the PIT tag was low, with 100% lost by Week 9. Retention of T-bars was higher, with 90% still attached by the end of the Week 8, but retention decreased thereafter as T-bar absorption increased. No relationship was found between initial weight and the number of weeks PIT tags (r = –0.173, P = 0.781) or T-bars (r = –0.220, P = 0.652) were retained. Neither the T-bar nor the PIT tags fulfilled the requirements of high retention required for long-term studies. However, we do recommend the use of T-bars for short-term studies for H. grisea under laboratory conditions or in a habitat with low substrate complexity.

Additional keywords: growth, passive integrated transponder tag, PIT tag, survival, tracking individuals.


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