Distribution change of invasive American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) by future climate threaten endangered Suweon treefrog (Hyla suweonensis) in South Korea.
The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) has been imported into South Korea in earnest for food since the 1970s and introduced into nature due to release and escape. Accordingly, the influx and spread of American Bullfrogs are expected to have a direct impact on native species, but few related studies have been conducted on this. We predicted changes in the potential distribution and future distribution based on climate change scenarios to analyze how those changes affect critically endangered Suwon treefrogs. Suwon treefrog sites (63.9%, 78/122) overlapped with the distribution of Bullfrogs. According to the prediction of the future distribution of Bullfrogs, the overlapping of American Bullfrogs and Suwon treefrog will remain similar to the current level in the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 scenario. On the other hand, in the RCP 8.5 scenario, the number of overlapping sites will increase to 72.1% (88/122) due to the spreading of the American Bullfrogs. The results show that climate change directly affects the distribution expansion of the American Bullfrogs but also indirectly can lead to an increased threat to Suwon treefrogs. In conclusion, our results strongly suggest why climate change should be actively addressed in terms of the spread of invasive species and the protection of endangered species.