The Science Seminar Series: April 8, 2010
The Cuban treefrog in northern Florida
Lisa Wilson , Graduate Student
Department of Biology
Valdosta State University
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Amphibians have undergone global population declines attributed to a variety of causes including climate change, pathogens, and introduced species. In Florida, introduced species have impacted native amphibians through adult and larval competition and predation. One species, the Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis, has been reported to replace native treefrogs. The exact mechanism of replacement is unknown. This study, which focused on populations in northern Florida, examined diet, cold tolerance, and the presence of a fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobratidis (Bd). Native anurans represent a small portion of the diet of Cuban treefrogs, although the potential for predation exists. Preliminary data on cold tolerance indicates the potential for continued northward expansion into Georgia and westward expansion into the panhandle. The success of Cuban treefrog as an invader is likely to decline in colder areas, although continued climate change and possible adaptation will expand the area in which they are successful. There was no evidence of Bd. Due to their susceptibility and life history characteristics, Cuban treefrogs are unlikely to act as reservoirs or vectors of Bd and are unlikely to test positive.