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PIT TAG

PIT TAG
PIT TAG
PIT TAG
PIT TAG
PIT TAG

PIT TAG

Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags help scientists track individual organisms by providing a reliable lifetime 'barcode' for an individual animal.

Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags help scientists track individual organisms by providing a reliable lifetime 'barcode' for an individual animal.

PIT TAG.jpg

An important aspect of understanding animal migration is the ability to track and recognize individuals over time and space . Technological advances made over the past decades now allow us to digitally track our study animals in ways that just a generation ago would have seemed unfathomable. Radio and satellite telemetry have revealed a lot about animal movements, but are limited by the need for batteries, whose weight sets a ceiling on the size of the animal that can be tracked

External tags (e.g., ear and leg tags, dart tags, painted marks, scale clipping) have also facilitated animal tracking. These are relatively cost-effective, but their external nature makes them susceptible to being lost, scratched, rendered illegible upon recapture, and also subject to human error while being read , often causes the animals pain and has thus been viewed as inhumane . So what should you do if you want to recognize an individual animal over the course of years? Here, we use, benefits, and limitations of internal passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging to study animal movement.

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Internal Identification Tags

The use of internal PIT tags began in the mid-1980s with scientists measuring fish movement, but has since been expanded to include the study of mammal, amphibians, reptile, bird, and invertebrate movement . PIT tags are also used by veterinarians for identifying household pets and for tracking livestock and zoo animals. A PIT tag consists of an integrated circuit chip, capacitor, and antenna coil encased in glass. PIT tags vary in size and shape depending on the study animal. Generally, tags are cylindrical in shape, about 8-32 mm long, and 1-4 mm in diameter.


Essentially, PIT tags act as a lifetime barcode for an individual animal, analogous to a Social Security number and, provided they can be scanned, are as reliable as a fingerprint . PIT tags are dormant until activated; they therefore do not require any internal source of power throughout their lifespan. To activate the tag, a low-frequency radio signal is emitted by a scanning device that generates a close-range electromagnetic field. The tag then sends a unique alpha-numeric code back to the reader . Scanners are available as handheld, portable, battery-powered models and as stationary, automated models that are usually used for automated scanning.


Internal PIT tags are inserted via large-gauge needles or surgically implanted either subcutaneously or into a body cavity. you can  inserted PIT tags into the peritoneal cavity of Atlantic salmon,  provided fish were of a minimum size and sutures were used. then no post-surgery mortality or tag shedding,you can choose standardizing implantation techniques for different types and size classes of animals to minimize tissue damage and infection rates, and to maximize the speed of wound healing.


Uses of PIT Tags

PIT tagging can be used to answer questions regarding growth rates, survivorship, food webs, and movement patterns. A major advantage over mark-recapture methods is that marked animals do not need to be recaptured; they just need to pass by an automated reading system antenna. Such systems are of great use for colony-nesting species such as bats, and for animals that travel through natural structural bottlenecks like spawning salmonids.  the antennae hung over a shallow spawning stream and were able to obtain readings of Atlantic salmon at 1-m water depth.


Benefits of PIT Tagging

Many studies have reported great success using PIT tags.  with PIT tags and found no mortality caused by tagging and little incidence of infection. The researchers saw very low rates of tag loss, most of which occurred within 10 days of implantation. This method was more appealing than external tagging because the squirrels have small ears (making it hard to attach ear tags) and because toe-clipping impairs burrowing ability. In newborn snakes, radio-transmitters and scale clipping increased winter mortality and decreased feeding rates, while internal PIT tagging caused no change in growth rate or movement speed, indicating that PIT tags are safe and reliable for marking individuals .


With large animals, PIT tags are practically permanent when installed correctly, and have virtually no negative impacts on the animal. Tagging rarely results in infection, and upon death, tags can even be reused . PIT tags can be recognized 24 hrs a day, which proved especially useful for monitoring nocturnal bats . An advantage of PIT tag recognition is that scanning need not be done by a professional, so when octopuses are caught as by-catch by commercial fisherman, they may be scanned and data returned to the appropriate researcher . Moreover, PIT tag reading can be automated, which eliminates the need for an observer to be present.


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