The sterile male release approach as a method to control invasive amphibian populations: a preliminary study on Lithobates catesbeianus.
Widespread populations of the invasive species Lithobates catesbeianus (American bullfrog) are present in different parts of the world and are difficult to control. This study investigated the possibility to sterilize male individuals of this species in order to use the sterile male release technique in controlling these invasive populations. The technique can be adopted in aquaculture facilities as well to prevent new introductions by incidental releases or escapes. In order to produce sterile individuals a cold and pressure shock protocol were used on fertilized eggs to create triploid individuals. The cold shock did not result in triploid individuals while 54% triploids were obtained from pressure shock, the remaining individuals being aneuploid. The triploid and control larvae were reared for more than one year and the control larvae had a greater length after 7 and 9 months, their weight did not differ. At metamorphosis no difference in length and weight was found between the two groups. The subadult bullfrogs from both groups showed 9 months post metamorphosis a similar scaled body mass index but lower than individuals living in the wild. The pressure shock protocol needs further refinement in respect to the timing of the shock. Further research on the reproductive behavior of these sterile frogs is necessary to evaluate the possible use in the sterile male release technique.