Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Osteopilus septentrionalis
(Cuban treefrog)



Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban treefrog)


  • Last modified
  • 16 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Osteopilus septentrionalis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Cuban treefrog
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Amphibia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Osteopilus septentrionalis is a large, tropical treefrog that can be found on the ground or in trees. It is a voracious feeder and although it prefers a diet of insects and other invertebrates, it also eats vertebrates such as frogs and l...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet, under review

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Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban tree frog); adult, nr human habitation. Palmetto, Florida, USA. May 2009.
CaptionOsteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban tree frog); adult, nr human habitation. Palmetto, Florida, USA. May 2009.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Munkel/via wikipdia
Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban tree frog); adult, nr human habitation. Palmetto, Florida, USA. May 2009.
AdultOsteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban tree frog); adult, nr human habitation. Palmetto, Florida, USA. May 2009.Public Domain - Released by Munkel/via wikipdia


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Osteopilus septentrionalis (Duméril & Bibron, 1841)

Preferred Common Name

  • Cuban treefrog

Other Scientific Names

  • Hyla dominicensis subsp. insulsa Mittleman, 1950
  • Hyla dominicensis subsp. septentrionalis Mertens, 1938
  • Hyla insulsa Cope, 1863
  • Hyla microterodisca Werner 1921
  • Hyla schebestana Werner, 1917
  • Hyla septentrionalis Duméril & Bibron, 1841
  • Trachycephalus insulsus Cope, 1863
  • Trachycephalus marmoratus Duméril & Bibron, 1841
  • Trachycephalus septentrionalis Duméril & Bibron, 1841
  • Trachycephalus wrightii Cope, 1863

International Common Names

  • English: Cuban tree frog; giant tree-frog; marbled tree-toad
  • Spanish: rana cubana ; Rana platernera
  • French: rainette de Cuba

Summary of Invasiveness

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Osteopilus septentrionalis is a large, tropical treefrog that can be found on the ground or in trees. It is a voracious feeder and although it prefers a diet of insects and other invertebrates, it also eats vertebrates such as frogs and lizards. It is native to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, and has spread to other Caribbean islands and the US mainland, largely due to anthropogenic activities as a hitchhiker. Where it has been introduced in Florida, it is considered an invasive species because it poses a threat to native treefrog species through predation and competition. It is also a nuisance pest in urban areas because it can disrupt household services when seeking shelter and emits a very loud mating call.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Amphibia
  •                     Order: Anura
  •                         Family: Hylidae
  •                             Genus: Osteopilus
  •                                 Species: Osteopilus septentrionalis


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O. septentrionalis is a large treefrog, usually measuring  3.8- 7.8 cm, with a maximum of 14 cm (Johnson, 2013), although some females can exceed 15 cm (Johnson, 2017).  Snout-vent length is in the range 28-165 mm, making it the largest treefrog in the USA (Somma et al., 2018). Average weight is 57 g (Dameron, 2016).

Adults are usually creamy white to light brown in colour, although they can also be green, grey, beige, yellow, dark brown, or any combination of these colours (Johnson, 2017). They have large bulging eyes, rough and warty skin, and sometimes have a wavy pattern or blotches on their backs (Johnson, 2017). O. septentrionalis often have stripes or bands on the dorsal surface of their legs (Johnson, 2017). They have large toepads that allow them to climb trees, shrubs, windows and buildings and these distinguish them from other frogs and toads (Johnson, 2017). Their front toes are not webbed, and the rear toes are slightly webbed. The dorsal skin on adults is fused to the skull (Somma et al., 2018).

The tadpoles are black or darkly pigmented dorsally, with a visible intestinal coil and a moderately pigmented tail with light areas on the anterior muscles (Somma et al., 2018). The tadpoles can be distinguished by a transparent pointed tail fin with spots and a brown tint (Dameron, 2016).


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O. septentrionalis is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands (Glorioso et al., 2018). It has been introduced to Caribbean islands and Florida, USA, where it has become invasive (Glorioso et al., 2018). The population in Florida has been shown to have originated from Cuba (Heinicke et al., 2011). Its range is extending northwards on the US mainland.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Feb 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedFirst reported: 1990s
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedTortola, Virgin Gorda, Beef Island and Peter Island
Cayman IslandsPresentNative
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedInvasive
CubaPresentNativeIsla de Juventud, Archipelago de los Cannarreos, Archipelago de Sabana-Camaguey, Cayos de San Felipe
DominicaPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced2018Portsmouth
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroduced
Puerto RicoPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: 1950s
Sint MaartenPresentIntroducedFirst reported: ~1987
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresent, LocalizedIntroducedNorth
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedSt. Croix, St John, St Thomas
United StatesPresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasivePresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1931Introduced at Key West and established since at least 1951; Original citation: Somma (2018)
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced2004Cumberland-St. Simons; Lower Oconee; Ogeechee Coastal; Original citation: Somma (2018)
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1996Oahu; Original citation: Somma (2018)
-LouisianaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedAmite; East Central Louisiana Coastal; Eastern Louisiana Coastal; Liberty Bayou-Tchefuncta; Lower Mississippi-New Orleans; Vermilion; Original citation: Somma (2018)

History of Introduction and Spread

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It is thought that O. septentrionalis arrived in Florida via shipping crates from the Caribbean probably in the 1920s (Johnson, 2017). It spread from the Florida Keys area to most of southern Florida by the mid-1970s. By 2017 there were breeding populations as far north as Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast, Jacksonville on the Atlantic Coast, and Gainesville in north-central Florida (Johnson, 2017). Isolated individuals have been noted in coastal South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (Johnson, 2017).  

Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Florida population originated from two Cuban sources, with colonization starting in the Florida Keys followed by human-mediated dispersal throughout the Florida peninsular (Heinicke et al., 2011). It is suggested that the subtropical environment of the Florida Keys acted as an adaptive stepping stone for invasion of North America (Heinicke et al., 2011).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Florida Cuba Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Heinicke et al. (2011); Johnson (2017)

Risk of Introduction

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There is potential for O. septentrionalis to continue to expand its range in the mainland USA and Caribbean islands. It is a common species in the pet trade (IUCN, 2017) and where it is traded and captive-bred, there is the potential to escape and establish if the environmental conditions are favourable. Where O. septentrionalis occurs near plant nurseries, there is the potential for the species to be accidentally spread via the trade in ornamental trees and shrubs and also to hitchhike on or in various other forms of transport and transported goods.


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O. septentrionalis is usually found in mesic habitats, although in the Bahamas, it is found in xeric conditions (IUCN, 2017). In natural habitats, O. septentrionalis prefers closed canopy, forested areas and tends to avoid open habitats (Beard et al., 2017). It is found in moist tropical hardwood hammocks, bottomland forests, cypress and mangrove swamps, pine rocklands, sandhills, and xeric hammocks (Beard et al., 2017).  O. septentrionalis can also tolerate brackish areas (IUCN, 2017). It can be found on the ground and in vegetation (IUCN, 2017; Somma et al., 2018).

O. septentrionalis is also found in human-modi­fied environments, such as Brazilian pepper stands, orange groves, agricultural landscapes, and in urban and suburban areas (Beard et al., 2017; IUCN, 2017). This species can be found in buildings and among landscape plants (Beard et al., 2017).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedBuildings Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedBuildings Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Natural
LittoralCoastal areas Present, no further details Natural
LittoralMangroves Present, no further details Natural
FreshwaterPonds Present, no further details Natural
BrackishSprings Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
BrackishEstuaries Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
BrackishLagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Chromosome numbers in Osteopilus spp. are: 24, 34 (Bogart, 1991).

Reproductive Biology

O. septentrionalis will breed in isolated wetlands, ditches, ponds, neglected swimming pools, and other man-made structures where there are no predatory fish (Johnson, 2017). Breeding occurs in the spring and summer, although in southern Florida O. septentrionalis can breed at any time of year (Johnson, 2017).  Breeding peaks from May to October in Florida (Dameron, 2016). Breeding is stimulated by rainfall, especially warm summer rain and that is associated with tropical weather systems (Johnson, 2017). O. septentrionalis is adapted to storms, and can immediately increase its fecundity and disperse rapidly during and after hurricanes (Somma et al., 2018).

The species is polygynandrous (both males and females have multiple mates; Dameron, 2016). Males use a large chorus call to attract females, although beyond this, breeding is random (Dameron, 2016). Breeding has been observed to last one night, with there being more males than females, and with males using acoustic competition and scramble searching for mates (Vargas, 2006). Males have a distinct call that has been described as like a squeaking door (Johnson, 2017) and a rasping snarl or rubbery snore (Somma et al., 2018). Males do not defend a territory or exhibit parental care (Vargas, 2006). An absence of high selectivity by females has been observed, suggesting this may increase the invasive capacity of the species, since selectivity in a small population could reduce mating success (Vargas, 2006).

Female fecundity increases as body size increases (Dameron, 2016). Large females can lay more than 15,000 eggs per season (Johnson, 2017). The eggs are laid 75-1000 at a time (Dameron, 2016) in still water, including pools, marshes, flood pastures and ditches (IUCN, 2017). The eggs are externally fertilized by males (Masterson, 2007), and hatch within 24-32 hours (Dameron, 2016). There is no parental care (Dameron, 2016). Metamorphosis usually occurs in 3 weeks, although in temperatures below 29˚C, this could take a month (Dameron, 2016). The tadpoles develop into froglets when they reach 1.25-1.91 cm in length (Dameron, 2016). On average, females reach sexual maturity at 255 days, and males at 120 days (Dameron, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

In the USA, O. septentrionalis adults are larger than native tree frogs so they are able to consume larger prey (Beard et al., 2017).

Female body size decreases the further north that the species spreads (McGarrity and Johnson, 2008), so dispersal may be limited by climate (Somma et al., 2018). However, in critical thermal minimum tests, the frogs were tolerant of short-term exposure to low temperatures and this may increase their ability to survive subsequent cold conditions (Simpson, 2013). In a Florida study of frogs sheltering from natural cold events in PVC piping, temperatures of -4˚C caused mortality of some individuals of O. septentrionalis (Haggerty and Crisman, 2015). However, it was still captured at 14 of 15 sites following three freeze events, suggesting that freezing temperatures may not cause local extinction of the species (Haggerty and Crisman, 2015).

A high-pitched scream call is used to deter predators (Somma et al., 2018).  When caught by a predator, it will give out a loud stress call, inflate its body, and release defensive chemicals that are toxic to humans and other mammals (Dameron, 2016). These skin secretions may make this species less palatable than native treefrogs to potential predators (Beard et al., 2017).


O. septentrionalis has a lifespan of 5-10 years in the wild (Masterson, 2007; Dameron, 2016) and up to 12.9 years in captivity (Dameron, 2016).

Activity patterns

O. septentrionalis is an ambush predator, often seen waiting near lights that attract insects (Masterson, 2007). It is mostly nocturnal, and is active from dusk to dawn, and does not appear to be territorial (Dameron, 2016). At temperatures below 9.5˚C, the frog goes into a state of torpor (Dameron, 2016).

O. septentrionalis reacts to chemical cues from larval dragonfly (Libellulidae sp.) to avoid predation (Ehrsam et al., 2016). This system is disrupted when the tadpoles are exposed to the herbicide atrazine, and the tadpoles also become hyperactive when compared with controls (Ehrsam et al., 2016). It has been suggested that atrazine dysregulates corticosterone in O. septentrionalis, a hormone involved in immunity, neurogenesis and health (McMahon et al., 2017).


The nutrition of O. septentrionalis was investigated in Florida in both pine rockland and mangrove habitats (Glorioso et al., 2010). The frogs were generalist feeders, consuming a wide range of invertebrates, with the consumption of other anuran species being a minor component of their diet (Glorioso et al., 2010). When given the choice of crickets or Hyla cinerea as prey, crickets were consumed before the frogs (Wyatt and Forys, 2004). In Florida, O. septentrionalis preys on native frogs, small lizards, and small snakes (Johnson, 2013). Tadpoles feed mostly on algae but may eat other tadpoles (Dameron, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

O. septentrionalis has been shown to be more tolerant of salinity than some native Floridian anuran amphibians, which may potentially contribute to its invasion potential (Brown and Walls, 2013). The species occurs from sea level up to 1110 m above sea level (IUCN, 2017). Eggs only survive in temperatures above 27˚C (Dameron, 2016).


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A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
32 17

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 29

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Allodero hylae Parasite Adults
Anolis equestris Predator Adults
Aplectana Parasite Adults
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Pathogen Adults; Arthropods|Larvae
Centrorhynchus Parasite Adults
Clarias gariepinus Predator
Coluber constrictor Predator Adults
Corvus brachyrhynchos Predator Adults; Nematodes|Juveniles; Arthropods|Larvae
Cylindrotaenia americana Parasite Adults
Mesocoelium crossophorum Parasite Adults
Notophthalmus viridescens Predator Arthropods|Larvae
Oswaldocruzia lenteixeirai Parasite Adults
Pantherophis Predator Adults
Parapharyngodon osteopilli Parasite Adults
Phidippus regius Predator Adults
Physaloptera Parasite Adults
Physalopteroides bahamensis Parasite Adults
Rhabdias Parasite Adults
Thamnophis sauritus Predator Adults
Thamnophis sirtalis Predator Adults

Notes on Natural Enemies

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O. septentrionalis is predated by various snakes, lizards and birds although the toxic mucus produced by the adult confers some protection. The presence of the amphibian predator Notophthalmus viridescens (eastern newt) has been show to reduce the negative impacts of O. septentrionalis tadpoles on the native species Bufo terrestris (Smith, 2006).

Nine species of parasite were found in Osteopilus septentrionalis in Florida (Ortega et al., 2015). These were: Aplectana sp., Oswaldocruzia lenteixeirai, Cylindrotaenia americana, Physaloptera sp., Rhabdias sp., Centrorhynchus sp., unidentified trematode metacercariae, unidentified larval acuariids, and unidentified pentastomids. It is suggested that Oswaldocruzia lenteixeirai was introduced with the frogs since it is not reported from native anurans in Florida (Ortega et al., 2015). Oswaldocruzia lenteixeirai, Parapharyngodon osteopili, Physalopteroides bahamensis, an unidentified female strongylid, and an unidentified larval oxyurid were isolated from O. septentrionalis in San Salvador Island, Bahamas. P. bahamensis had the greatest prevalence and highest mean intensity (Goldberg et al., 1994). O. septentrionalis appeared to have fewer parasites in the introduced range, potentially creating an immunological advantage for the species (Ortega et al., 2015). Knutie et al. (2017) demonstrated that a high resource diet increased resistance to infection by Aplectana gut nematodes in O. septentrionalis.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

It is thought that dispersal of O. septentrionalis in the Caribbean is partly due to individuals rafting on floating vegetation (Somma et al., 2018).

Accidental Introduction

O. septentrionalis is thought to have been accidentally introduced via shipping materials, ornamental plants and motorized vehicles. This species can also be spread via transported construction materials (Perry et al., 2006).

Intentional Introduction

Although popular in the pet trade, there does not appear to be much evidence that intentional introduction to the wild has occurred.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
HitchhikerAccidentally transported in crates of vegetables Yes Yes
HorticultureTransported with ornamental plants and palm trees Yes Yes Johnson (2017)
Nursery trade Yes Yes
Pet tradeA common species in the pet trade Yes Yes IUCN (2017)

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Bulk freight or cargo Yes Johnson (2017)
Containers and packaging - wood Yes
Floating vegetation and debris Yes Yes Somma et al. (2018)
Plants or parts of plants Yes
Ship structures above the water lineAdults Yes Johnson (2017)
Land vehiclesAdults Yes Johnson (2017)
Soil, sand and gravel Yes Yes Perry et al (2006)

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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O. septentrionalis may get into electrical switches, transformer boxes, water pump housings and AC compressor units, increasing maintenance costs (Johnson, 2017).

Environmental Impact

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In Florida, O. septentrionalis has been linked to the decline of native anurans. Interspecific competition between O. septentrionalis and the native Hyla squirella and Bufo terrestris was shown to be strong during the larval stage, with reduced larval growth rates and delayed metamorphosis of the native species (Knight et al., 2009). Priority effects (the effect of the order of hatching) were also found to be strong (Smith, 2005; Knight et al., 2009). O. septentrionalis competes acoustically with the native green treefrogs Hyla cinerea (Tennessen et al., 2016).  H. cinerea has a similar call to O. septentrionalis and was found to use louder and shorter calls for longer during chorus noise from O. septentrionalis (Tennessen et al., 2016). How this could affect breeding success in H. cinerea requires further investigation. O. septentrionalis also predates H. cinerea larvae (Smith, 2005). The abundance of native treefrogs in Everglades National Park, Florida, increased after manual removal of O. septentrionalis (Rice et al., 2011).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Hyla cinerea (American green treefrog)LC (IUCN red list: Least concern)FloridaCompetition (unspecified); PredationRice et al. (2011)
Hyla squirella (squirrel treefrog)LC (IUCN red list: Least concern)FloridaCompetition (unspecified)Rice et al. (2011); Smith (2005)

Social Impact

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The skin of O. septentrionalis secretes a mucus that can irritate the eyes and nose and cause allergy-like symptoms and asthma attacks (Johnson, 2013).

O. septentrionalis can get into toilets, power boxes, and can clog drains (Johnson, 2013). In the British Virgin Islands, it invades water cisterns that are the main source of drinking water for many residents (Perry et al., 2006). O. septentrionalis can enter homes through open doors and windows, on ornamental plants, and via plumbing systems and so can become a nuisance (Johnson, 2017). Their calls can be very annoying where they are present near homes in large numbers during the breeding season, and they can lay their eggs in decorative ponds and swimming pools (Johnson, 2017).

O. septentrionalis likes hiding in enclosed spaces and so may often be found in nesting boxes set up for birds (Johnson, 2017).

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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O. septentrionalis is common in the pet trade, however, it does produce a toxic mucus which limits its appeal.

Uses List

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  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Pet/aquarium trade

Human food and beverage

  • Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Information in this section is from Johnson (2017) unless otherwise indicated.

In Florida, there are three native treefrogs that may be confused with O. septentrionalis: the squirrel treefrog (Hyla squirella), barking treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) and Cope’s grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis).

Adult squirrel treefrogs measure 4 cm with colour varying from brown, grey, dull green through to bright green. However, their skin is smooth and not warty like O. septentrionalis.

Barking treefrogs measure  up to 6.5 cm, varying in colour from yellow-green, dark green through to brown, with round spots on their backs. Their skin may be rough, but it is not warty like O. septentrionalis, and they have a white upper lip.

Both Cope’s grey treefrog and O. septentrionalis have warty skin, and yellow coloured groin and armpit areas. However, Cope’s treefrog has a light-coloured area below each eye that is absent in O. septentrionalis.

The dorsal skin on adult O. septentrionalis is fused to the skull, which is not the case in the native treefrogs of the USA (Somma et al., 2018). It is also distinguished from other US treefrogs by the bilateral inflation of the single vocal sac of calling males that gives the appearance of two sacs (Somma et al., 2018). 

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

Removal of objects that collect rainwater can reduce breeding opportunities. On the British Virgin Islands, plants and construction materials are inspected for frogs before being allowed onto the Island (Perry et al., 2006).

Physical/Mechanical Control

There is no state-wide plan to manage O. septentrionalis in Florida, so locals usually initiate hand-removal following guidance from the UF Cooperative Extension Service (Beard et al., 2017).  Hand-capture and removal via PVC pipes are recommended by the service (Beard et al., 2017). In Florida, it is recommended that captured individuals are anaesthetized with benzocaine ointment, placed in a plastic bag and then into a freezer for 24 h to euthanize them (Beard 2017; Johnson 2017).

Covering vent pipes, including those on roofs, prevents the frogs from seeking shelter in homes and other buildings (Beard et al., 2017).

Chemical Control

On the British Virgin Islands, plants and construction materials were fumigated with vehicle exhaust fumes, although the frogs appeared to be resistant to this as a control method and it has been stopped (Perry et al., 2006). Chemical wildlife deterrents can be used to stop O. septentrionalis from entering enclosed spaces (Beard et al., 2017).


Eliminating breeding opportunities by removing standing water, covering barrels, removing eggs and tadpoles, and by chlorinating pools can be used as part of an integrated management system (Beard et al., 2017).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There is a requirement for long-term field studies on the effects of O. septentrionalis on native species.


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Andrews, J. M., Childress, J. N., Iakovidis, T. J., Langford, G. J., 2015. Elucidating the life history and ecological aspects of Allodero hylae (Annelida: Clitellata: Naididae), a parasitic oligochaete of invasive Cuban tree frogs in Florida. Journal of Parasitology, 101(3), 275-281. doi: 10.1645/14-608.1

Beard KH, Johnson SA, Shiels AB, , 2017. 9 frogs (coqui frogs, greenhouse frogs, Cuban tree frogs, and cane toads). In: Ecology and Management of Terrestrial Vertebrate Invasive Species in the United States, [ed. by Pitt WC, Beasley J, Witmer GW]. Florida, USA: CRC Press. 174-178.

Bogart JP, 1991. Chapter 11. The influence of life history on karyotypic evolution in frogs. In: Amphibian Cytogenetics and Evolution, [ed. by Green DM, Sessions SK, ]. New York, USA: Academic Press. 233-258.

Brown, M. E., Walls, S. C., 2013. Variation in salinity tolerance among larval anurans: implications for community composition and the spread of an invasive, non-native species. Copeia, (No.3), 543-551. doi: 10.1643/CH-12-159

Dameron M, 2016. Osteopilus septentrionalis. In: Animal Diversity Web, USA: University of Michigan .

Dominica News Online, 2018. Invasive species alert: the Cuban tree frog in Dominica. Dominica: Duravision Inc. .

Ehrsam, M., Knutie, S. A., Rohr, J. R., 2016. The herbicide atrazine induces hyperactivity and compromises tadpole detection of predator chemical cues. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 35(9), 2239-2244. doi: 10.1002/etc.3377

Frost D, 2018. In: Amphibian Species of the World 6.0: An Online Reference, USA: American Museum of Natural History .

Glorioso, B. M., Waddle, J. H., Crockett, M. E., Rice, K. G., Percival, H. F., 2010. Diet of the invasive Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in pine rockland and mangrove habitats in South Florida. Caribbean Journal of Science, 46(2/3), 346-355.

Glorioso, B. M., Waddle, J. H., Muse, L. J., Jennings, N. D., Litton, M., Hamilton, J., Gergen, S., Heckard, D., 2018. Establishment of the exotic invasive Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in Louisiana. Biological Invasions, 20(10), 2707-2713. doi: 10.1007/s10530-018-1732-1

Goldberg, S. R., Bursey, C. R., Tawil, R., 1994. Gastrointestinal nematodes of the Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis (Hylidae) from San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 61(2), 230-233.

Haggerty, C. J. E., Crisman, T. L., 2015. Pulse disturbance impacts from a rare freeze event in Tampa, Florida on the exotic invasive Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis, and native treefrogs. Biological Invasions, 17(7), 2103-2111. doi: 10.1007/s10530-015-0863-x

Heinicke, M. P., Diaz, L. M., Hedges, S. B., 2011. Origin of invasive Florida frogs traced to Cuba. Biology Letters, 7(3), 407-410. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1131

IUCN, 2017. Osteopilus septentrionalis. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,

Johnson SA, 2013. Florida's frogs and toads: Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis). USA: Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida.

Knight, C. M., Parris, M. J., Gutzke, W. H. N., 2009. Influence of priority effects and pond location on invaded larval amphibian communities. Biological Invasions, 11(4), 1033-1044. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9314-2

Knutie, S. A., Wilkinson, C. L., Wu QiuChang, Ortega, C. N., Rohr, J. R., 2017. Host resistance and tolerance of parasitic gut worms depend on resource availability. Oecologia, 183(4), 1031-1040. doi: 10.1007/s00442-017-3822-7

McGarrity, M. E., Johnson, S. A., 2009. Geographic trend in sexual size dimorphism and body size of Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban treefrog): implications for invasion of the southeastern United States. Biological Invasions, 11(6), 1411-1420. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9349-4

McMahon, T. A., Boughton, R. K., Martin, L. B., Rohr, J. R., 2017. Exposure to the herbicide atrazine nonlinearly affects tadpole corticosterone levels. Journal of Herpetology, 51(2), 270-273. doi: 10.1670/16-126

McMahon, T. A., Rohr, J. R., 2015. Transition of chytrid fungus infection from mouthparts to hind limbs during amphibian metamorphosis. EcoHealth, 12(1), 188-193. doi: 10.1007/s10393-014-0989-9

Nyffeler, M., Edwards, G. B., Krysko, K. L., 2017. A vertebrate-eating jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae) from Florida, USA. Journal of Arachnology, 45(2), 238-241. doi: 10.1636/JoA-17-011.1

Ortega, N., Price, W., Campbell, T., Rohr, J., 2015. Acquired and introduced macroparasites of the invasive Cuban tree frog, Osteopilus septentrionalis. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 4(3), 379-384. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2015.10.002

Perry G, Powell R, Watson H, 2006. Keeping invasive species off Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Iguana, 13(4), 273-277.

Rice KG, Waddle J H, Miller MW, Crockett ME, Mazzotti FJ, Percival HF, 2011. Recovery of native treefrogs after removal of nonindigenous Cuban treefrogs, Osteopilus septentrionalis. Herpetologica, 67(2), 105-117.

Rodríguez-Machado, S., Rodríguez-Cabrera, T. M., 2015. First record of native amphibian predation by the invasive alien African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Siluriformes, Clariidae) in Cuba. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 10(3), 254-258.

Simpson SE, 2013. Assessing critical thermal minima to determine the thermal limits of the invasive cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis). MSc thesis. USA: University of Florida.

Smith KG, 2005. Effects of nonindigenous tadpoles on native tadpoles in Florida: evidence of competition. Biological Competition, 123(4), 433-441.

Smith, K. G., 2006. Keystone predators (eastern newts, Notophthalmus viridescens) reduce the impacts of an aquatic invasive species. Oecologia, 148(2), 342-349. doi: 10.1007/s00442-006-0370-y

Somma LA, Daniel WM, Morningstar C, 2018. Osteopilus septentrionalis (Duméril and Bibron, 1841). In: Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, USA: US Geological Society.

Tennessen, J. B., Parks, S. E., Tennessen, T. P., Langkilde, T., 2016. Raising a racket: invasive species compete acoustically with native treefrogs. Animal Behaviour, 114, 53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.01.021

The Guardian, 2018. Invasive fist-sized frogs caught at city’s Audubon zoo could soon pose a threat to native frogs across the Mississippi river. London, UK: The Guardian, UK Edition.

Vargas SF, 2006. Breeding behaviour and colonization success of the Cuban treefrog Osteopilus septentrionalis. Herpetologica, 62(4), 398-408.

Wyatt JL, Forys EA, 2004. Conservation implications of predation by Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) on native hylids in Florida. Southeastern Naturalist December, 3(4), 695-700.

Distribution References

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Dominica News Online, 2018. Invasive species alert: the Cuban tree frog in Dominica., Dominica: Duravision Inc.

Frost D, 2018. Amphibian Species of the World 6.0: An Online Reference., USA: American Museum of Natural History.

Glorioso B M, Waddle J H, Crockett M E, Rice K G, Percival H F, 2010. Diet of the invasive Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in pine rockland and mangrove habitats in South Florida. Caribbean Journal of Science. 46 (2/3), 346-355.

Glorioso B M, Waddle J H, Muse L J, Jennings N D, Litton M, Hamilton J, Gergen S, Heckard D, 2018. Establishment of the exotic invasive Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in Louisiana. Biological Invasions. 20 (10), 2707-2713. DOI:10.1007/s10530-018-1732-1

Heinicke M P, Diaz L M, Hedges S B, 2011. Origin of invasive Florida frogs traced to Cuba. Biology Letters. 7 (3), 407-410. DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2010.1131

IUCN, 2017. Osteopilus septentrionalis. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435.

Somma LA, Daniel WM, Morningstar C, 2018. Osteopilus septentrionalis (Duméril and Bibron, 1841). In: Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, USA: US Geological Society.

Vargas SF, 2006. Breeding behaviour and colonization success of the Cuban treefrog Osteopilus septentrionalis. In: Herpetologica, 62 (4) 398-408.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Principal Source

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Draft datasheet, under review


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03/06/18 Updated by:

V Cottrell, Consultant, UK

28/06/13 Original text by:

E Ventosa, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Puerto Rico

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