A preliminary report of amphibian mortality patterns on railways
In contrast to road mortality, little is known about amphibian railroad mortality. The aim of this study was to quantify amphibian mortality along a railway line as well as to investigate the relationship between the availability of breeding sites in the surrounding habitats and the monthly variation of amphibian railway mortality. The study was conducted from April to July 2011 along 45 km of the railway line Kraków - Tarnów (Poland, Małopolska province). Three species were affected by railway mortality: Bufo bufo, Rana temporaria and Pelophylax kl. esculentus. Most dead individuals (77%) were adult common toads. The largest number (14) of amphibian breeding sites was located in the most heterogeneous habitats (woodland and rural areas), which coincides with the sectors of highest amphibian mortality (42% of all accidents). As in the case of roads, spring migration is the period of highest amphibian mortality (87% of all accidents) on railroads. Our findings suggest that railroad mortality depends on the agility of the species, associated primarily with the ability to overcome the rails.
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