Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Present status of non-native amphibians and reptiles traded in Korean online pet shop.

Abstract

The development of transportation and the expansion of the pet market has become the main causes of the increase in the cross-border migration of non-native species. Moreover, recent sales over the Internet were a factor that has promoted pet trades. While the import of non-native species has been steadily increasing in the Republic of Korea, it is not clear how these imported species are traded and how large the trade is. Considering that most of the non-native species found in the wild are the results of release by humans understanding the present situation of pet trades can identify potential non-native species that can enter the wild. This study surveyed the number of species, frequency, and prices of non-native amphibians and reptiles sold in 25 online pet shops from January 22 to February 10, 2019. The results of the survey showed that a total of 677 species of non-native amphibians and reptiles were sold, and the Squamata group accounted for the largest part of them at 65.4% (443 species). The number of non-native amphibians and reptiles sold in online pet shops in 2019 was 2.1 times larger than the 325 species officially imported in 2015. The non-native amphibians and reptiles sold in most pet shops were Litoria caerulea (21 shops) and Correlophus ciliatus (24 shops). The lowest price for non-native amphibians and reptiles was 3,000 won, and the highest price was 100 million won for Rhacodactylus leachianus of Squamata. Among the non-native amphibians and reptiles sold in online pet shops, 11 species were found in the wild and were sold at relatively low prices. We confirmed that Mauremys reevesii, an endangered species class II and natural monument no. 453, and American bullfrogs (albino), an ecosystem disturbing species, were being sold in online pet shops. Moreover, 21.6% of the 677 non-native amphibians and reptiles sold in online pet shops were species designated as CITES. The results of this study can be the important reference data for understanding the status of non-native amphibians and reptiles that are imported and sold in Korea and evaluating and predicting the potential for them to enter the wild.