Indiscriminate feeding by an alien population of the spotted-thighed frog (Litoria cyclorhyncha) in southern Australia and potential impacts on native biodiversity

Christine M. Taylor, Gunnar Keppel, Gunnar Keppel, Shaun O'Sullivan, Stefan Peters, Gregory D. Kerr, Craig R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Litoria cyclorhyncha (Hylidae) is native to southern Western Australia, but a naturalised population has established on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. We investigated the diet of this exotic population to assess potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems. Seventy-six frogs were collected from three different habitats and their diet items assigned to parataxonomic units (PU) within orders. Stomach contents were diverse, containing 467 prey items from 19 orders and 135 PU, with extrapolation suggesting a diet of ∼200 PU. Shannon diversity estimates of prey items consumed produced different rankings for the three habitats at the PU and order level. Therefore, estimates at the order level may not be representative of the actual diversity of prey items. L. cyclorhyncha consumed mainly arthropods and low numbers of conspecific young frogs, geckos and a juvenile house mouse. This generalist, indiscriminate predatory diet is similar to that of other hylids and implies that the species poses a risk to native biodiversity and ecosystem processes by predation and competition. Therefore, further spread of this species needs to be prevented. Our findings can inform effective policies and management actions to mitigate future impacts of L. cyclorhyncha.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • dietary analysis
  • generalist predator
  • hylid frogs
  • invasive amphibian
  • localised population
  • parataxonomic unit (PU)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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