Introduced American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) come in contact with native amphibians on four continents and are well established in lowlands of western North America. To date, research on the effects of introduced bullfrogs on native frogs has focused on competition and predation, and is based largely on larval interactions. We present observations of interspecific amplexus between bullfrogs and two native ranid frogs (R. aurora and R. pretiosa) from six sites across the Pacific Northwest that imply that this interaction is more widespread than currently recognized. Our observations indicate that R. catesbeiana juveniles and subadults in this region are of appropriate size to elicit marked amplectic responses from males of both native species. Our literature review suggests that greater opportunity may exist for pairings between R. catesbeiana and native R. aurora or R. pretiosa than among syntopic native ranids in western North America. We hypothesize that interspecific amplexus with introduced R. catesbeiana could result in reproductive interference with negative demographic consequences in native ranid populations that have been reduced or altered by other stressors.
Additional publication details
Observations of Interspecific amplexus between western North American ranid frogs and the introduced American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) and an hypothesis concerning breeding interference