Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Chemical cues of an invasive turtle reduce development time and size at metamorphosis in the common frog.

Abstract

In aquatic systems, chemical cues are one of the major sources of information through which animals can assess local predation risk. Non-native red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) have the potential to disrupt aquatic ecosystems in Central Europe because of their superior competitive abilities and omnivorous diets. In this study, we examined whether continuous predator-borne cues are tied to changes in the developmental rates, growth rates and sizes at metamorphosis of common frog tadpoles (Rana temporaria). Our results show rather rarely documented types of amphibian prey responses to caged predators. The presence of turtles shortened the time at metamorphosis of tadpoles from 110 ± 11.7 days to 93 ± 13.0 days (mean ± S.D.). The first metamorphosed individuals were recorded on the 65th day and on the 80th day from hatching in the predator treatment and in the control group, respectively. The froglets were significantly smaller (12.8 ± 0.99 mm) in the presence of the predator than in the control treatment (15.2 ± 1.27 mm). The growth rate trajectories were similar between the predator treatment and the control. Thus, predator-induced tadpole defences were evident in higher developmental rates and smaller sizes at metamorphosis without significant changes in growth.