Predation pressure of invasive marsh frogs: a threat to native amphibians?
Anurans have been introduced in many parts of the world and have often become invasive over large geographic areas. Although predation is involved in the declines of invaded amphibian populations, there is a lack of quantitative assessments evaluating the potential risk posed to native species. This is particularly true for Pelophylax water frogs, which have invaded large parts of western Europe, but no studies to date have examined their predation on other amphibians in their invaded range. Predation of native amphibians by marsh frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus) was assessed by stomach flushing once a month over four months in 21 ponds in southern France. Nine percent of stomachs contained amphibians. Seasonality was a major determinant of amphibian consumption. This effect was mediated by body size, with the largest invaders ingesting bigger natives, such as tree frogs. These results show that invasive marsh frogs represent a threat through their ability to forage on natives, particularly at the adult stage. The results also indicate that large numbers of native amphibians are predated. More broadly, the fact that predation was site- and time-specific highlights the need for repeated samplings across habitats and key periods for a clear understanding of the impact of invaders.