Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Erik Lindquist


Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki) are a species of bufonid toad native to Panama that are suspected to be extinct in the wild due to infection from an invasive foreign fungus. Adult frogs are bright yellow in color, with numerous individually unique black markings that tend to disappear over time. In this study, a captive population of 44 Panamanian golden frogs were photographed once per month over a period of several months to track the changes in black patterning. These images were compared visually and through the program HotSpotter to develop a method by which HotSpotter may be used to consistently identify individual frogs over time, despite the changes in patterning. By querying against each other in HotSpotter all photos of a given individual frog over time, it was determined that instructing HotSpotter to look at only the dorsum of the frogs, excluding head and legs, returned the most accurate matches. Once this method of matching photos (one at a time, using only the back regions of the frogs)was established as the most accurate, it was used to test how well HotSpotter could match photos overtime as the frogs’ patterning changed. The preliminary conclusion was that HotSpotter is less able to match photos of younger frogs whose patterning often changed appreciably in the time between photographs. Further testing is needed to confirm or refute this conclusion.