We evaluated the diets of three sympatric anuran species, the native Northern Pacific Treefrog, Pseudacris regilla, and Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog, Rana boylii, and the introduced American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus, based on stomach contents of frogs collected at 36 sites in 1997 and 1998. This investigation was part of a study of mercury bioaccumulation in the biota of the Cache Creek Watershed in north-central California, an area affected by mercury contamination from natural sources and abandoned mercury mines. We collected R. boylii at 22 sites, L. catesbeianus at 21 sites, and P. regilla at 13 sites. We collected both L. catesbeianus and R. boylii at nine sites and all three species at five sites. Pseudacris regilla had the least aquatic diet (100% of the samples had terrestrial prey vs. 5% with aquatic prey), followed by R. boylii (98% terrestrial, 28% aquatic), and L. catesbeianus, which had similar percentages of terrestrial (81%) and aquatic prey (74%). Observed predation by L. catesbeianus on R. boylii may indicate that interaction between these two species is significant. Based on their widespread abundance and their preference for aquatic foods, we suggest that, where present, L. catesbeianus should be the species of choice for all lethal biomonitoring of mercury in amphibians. Copyright ?? 2009 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
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Diets of three species of anurans from the cache creek watershed, California, USA