Whistling invaders: status and distribution of Johnstone's whistling frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei Barbour, 1914), 25 years after its introduction to Colombia.
Despite increased attention to the problem of alien amphibian invasions, systematic assessments of the actual invasion status and potential, required to estimate possible environmental and economic impacts of introduced species, are often missing. A prime example is Johnstone's Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei), a Caribbean native that now occurs widely throughout the South American mainland, including Colombia. We conducted the first systematic and comprehensive countrywide assessment of the introduction status of the species in Colombia, combining both intensive field surveys, as well as a first population genetic analysis. The species was strictly confined to urban habitats with specific environmental conditions (plant nurseries and private gardens) and did not show any signs of dispersal into the extra-urban matrix. Genetic data support previously hypothesised independent introduction events in the Andes and along the Caribbean Coast and shed light on potential dispersal pathways. The results of this study challenge both the active spread, as well as the broad environmental tolerance hypothesis previously suggested, to explain the observed range extension. A critical reassessment of the categorisation of the species as highly invasive under IUCN-ISSG standards is required.