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Rana catesbeiana - American bullfrog

Synonym: Lithobates catesbeianus
French name:  Grenouille taureau
Dutch name: Stierkikker
Family: Ranidae
Group: Amphibians and reptiles
Origin: North America
Habitat: freshwater
Introduction:  aquariums and ponds
ISEIA Score : 12
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1996
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: isolated
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: Bullfrog inhabits slow running waters, permanent ponds and ditches with dense vegetation. In Belgium, it is often found in fish ponds.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)

Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: high
Competition: high
Disease transmission: high
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: low
Physical alteration: low
Natural successions: unknown
Food web alteration: high
More on impacts: Introduction of the bullfrog outside its native range makes a global threat to amphibian populations in the world. It negatively affects native amphibians through competition and predation (namely green frog populations), especially where wetlands are fragmented and degraded (disparition of large, shallow, ephemeral ponds). It also feeds on many other prey, including arthropods, molluscs, fishes and young water birds. Bullfrog is moreover frequently reported to be a healthy carrier of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an emergent infectious disease that is highly virulent, has low host specificity and has been implicated in numerous species extinctions and global amphibian declines (including Alytes obstetricans, Bufo bufo and Salamandra salamandra in Europe). The bullfrog is included in the appendix to the recommendation no 77 of the Council of Europe as a species which has proved to be a threat to biological diversity and for which eradication is strongly recommended.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Laudelout Arnaud, Louette Gerald, Martin Youri, Percsy Christiane
Published on:  19 September 2007
Last update:  11 December 2013
Beebee T.J. & Griffiths R.A. (2005)
The amphibian decline crisis: a watershed for conservation biology?
Biological Conservation 125: 271-285.
Bosch J & Martínez-Solano I. (2006)
Chytrid fungus infection related to unusual mortalities of Salamandra salamandra and Bufo bufo in the Peñalara Natural Park (Central Spain).
Oryx 40: 84-89.
Bosch J, Martinez-Solano I & Garcia-Paris M. (2001)
Evidence of a chytrid fungus infection involved in the decline of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) in protected areas of central Spain.
Biological Conservation 97:331-337.
Cunningham AA, Garner TWJ, Anguilar-Sanchez V, Banks B, Foster J, Sainsbury AW, Perkins M, Walker SF, Hyatt AD & Fisher MC. (2005)
The emergence of amphibian chytridiomycosis in Britain.
The Veterinary Record 157: 386-387.
Daszak P., Berger L., Cunningham A.A., Hyatt A.D., Green D.E. & Speare R. (1999)
Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines.
Emerging Infectious Diseases 5: 735-748.
Daszak P., Cunningham A.A. & Hyatt A.D. (2003)
Infectious disease and amphibian population declines.
Diversity and Distributions 9: 141–150.
Daszak P., Strieby A., Cunningham A.A., Longcore J.E., Brown C.C. & Porter D. (2004)
Experimental evidence that the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is a potential carrier of chytridiomycosis, an emerging fungal disease of amphibians.
Herpetological Journal 14 : 201-207.
Ficetola G.F., Coïc C., Detaint M., Berroneau M., Lorvelec O. & Miaud C. (2007)
Pattern of distribution of the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana in Europe.
Biological Invasions, in press.
Fisher M.C. & Garner T.W.J. (2007)
The relationship between the introduction of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the international trade in amphibians and introduced amphibian species.
Fungal Biology Reviews 21: 2-9.
Garmyn, A., Van Rooij, P., Pasmans, F., Hellebuyck, T., Van Den Broeck, W., et al. (2012)
Waterfowl: Potential Environmental Reservoirs of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
PLoS ONE 7(4): e35038, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035038.
Garner TWJ, Perkins M, Govindarajulu P, Seglie D, Walker SJ, Cunningham AA & Fisher MC. (2006)
The emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis globally infects introduced populations of the North American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana.
Biology Letters 2: 455-459.
Garner TWJ, Walker S, Bosch J, Hyatt AD, Cunningham AA & Fisher MC. (2005)
Chytrid fungus in Europe.
Emerging Infectious Diseases 11: 1639-1641.
Godin J. (2005)
Les espèces animales invasives des milieux aquatiques et humides du bassin Artois-Picardie
Agence de l'Eau Artois-Picardie.
Hecnar S.J. & Closkey R.T.M. (1997)
Changes in the composition of a ranid frog community following bullfrog extinction.
American Midland Naturalist 137: 145-150.
Jooris, R. (2002)
Exoten onder de inheemse herpetofauna. Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique.
Biologie, 72-suppl.: 223-228.
Jooris, R. (2005)
De stierkikker in Vlaanderen : nieuwe inzichten in verspreding, foerageergedrag en ontwikkeling.
Natuur.focus 4(4): 121-127.
Kiesecker J.M., Blaustein A.R. & Miller C.L. (2001)
Potential mechanisms underlying the displacement of native red-legged frogs by introduced bullfrogs.
Ecology 82: 1964-1970.
Martin, Y. (2009)
Lithobathes catesbeianus, une nouvelle espèce invasive en Wallonie: distribution, habitat et régime alimentaire.
Mémoire de Master BOE, UCL.
Pasmans, F., Muijsers, M., Van Rooj, P., Brutyn, M., Ducatelle, R., Haesebrouck, F. & Martel, A. (2010)
Chytridiomycosis related mortality in a midwife toad (Alites obstetricans)in Belgium.
Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 79: 461-463.
Peeler, E.J., Oidtmann, B.C., Midtlyng, P.J., Miossec, L. & Gozlan, R.E. (2011)
Non-native aquatic animals introductions have driven disease emergence in Europe.
Biological invasions 13 (6): 1291-1303.
Werner E. E., Wellborn G. A. & McPeek M. A. (1995)
Diet composition in postmetamorphic bullfrogs and green frogs: Implications for interspecific predation and competition.
J. Herpetol. 29: 600-607.
van der Sluijs, A. M. & Zollinger,R. (2010)
Risk Assessment on the American bullfrog and the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Stichting RAVON, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

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