CO-OCCURENCE OF CHIRICAHUA LEOPARD FROGS (LITHOBATES CHIRICAHUENSIS) WITH SUNFISH (LEPOMIS SPP.)
Invasive species are a major threat to the persistence of native species, particularly in systems where ephemeral aquatic habitats have been converted to or replaced by permanent water and predators such as fish have been introduced. Within the Altar Valley, Arizona, USA, the invasive American bullfrog (Lithobates [=Rana] catesbeianus) has been successfully eradicated to help recover Chiricahua leopard frogs (Lithobates chiricahuensis). However, other non-native predators including sunfish (Lepomis spp) are present in some permanent water bodies. During four consecutive years (2014-2017) we detected both the federally-threatened Chiricahua leopard frog and sunfish at one permanent water body in the Altar Valley. This suggests that despite the potential negative effect of predatory fish on amphibians, there may be conditions where the Chiricahua leopard frog may be able to co-occur with this non-native predator. A better understanding of rare situations of co-occurrence with non-native predators may contribute to our understanding of why co-occurrence happens in some but not all systems and whether conservation strategies can be developed in situations where complete eradication of non-native predators is infeasible.
|Outlet/Publisher:||Southwestern Naturalist 64:69-72|
ARMI Organizational Units:Rocky Mountains, Northern - Biology
Southwest, Arizona - Biology