Date of Award
Master of Science - Biology
Stephen J. Mullin
Christopher M. Schalk
Cuban Treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) are established in Florida and Louisiana and have invasive potential further westward, possibly impacting native anurans at multiple life stages. In anurans, competition at the larval stage can decrease adult fitness through slower development and smaller size at metamorphosis, ultimately decreasing recruitment rates. To examine the potential impacts of O. septentrionalis at the larval life-history stage, I quantified activity levels and growth of their tadpoles and those of two anurans native to eastern Texas: Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) and Gulf Coast Toads (Incilius nebulifer). Tadpoles of the three species were raised in con- or heterospecific treatments. In heterospecific treatments including O. septentrionalis, H. cinerea growth was lowest but I. nebulifer activity and growth were highest. Activity level and growth of O. septentrionalis were highest within the conspecific treatment whereas growth was lowest in heterospecific treatments with H. cinerea, a potential consequence of collective activity level within treatments. To avoid local population declines of native anurans, management of Cuban Treefrogs should focus on preventing establishment of new populations.
Wasley, McKenzie, "An Invasive Species as a Threat to Native Biodiversity: Larval Competition Between Native Anurans and an Invasive Treefrog" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 385.
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