Current status of American bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus, invasion in Uruguay and exploration of chytrid infection.
The American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus is an invasive species that can strongly affect native amphibian communities through competition, predation, or introduction of diseases. This frog has invaded multiple areas in South America, for which niche models predict suitable environments across much of the continent. This paper reveals the state of the invasion of this species in Uruguay and its possible relationship with the chytrid pathogenic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Surveys at invaded sites were conducted from 2007 to 2015, identified two populations undergoing recent range expansion (one of them exponential), two populations that failed to establish, and a new record in an urban area of the capital city, Montevideo. In all the analysed feral populations, chytridiomycosis was found. Our data suggest that the invasion of L. catesbeianus in Uruguay is at an early stage, with very localized populations, which might allow for the implementation of cost-effective management plans, with eradication constituting a plausible option.