Native to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, the Cuban Treefrog (CTF) is an invasive species in Florida, with the ability to inflict serious ecological damage to invaded habitats. By examining the diet of the CTF, a known predator of native frogs, better predictions may be made of the impacts on native species and ecosystems. From 2002 - 2003, CTF diet was investigated in south Florida at four sites, two each within pine rockland and mangrove habitat. Within each habitat, one site exhibited a low density of CTFs and the other a high density of CTFs. CTFs were captured in PVC pipes attached to trees and stomach contents were examined after euthanasia. Beetles were the most numerous and widely consumed prey item among sites; roaches, orthopterans, spiders, ants, and caterpillars were also major dietary components. There were significant differences in the proportion of taxa consumed by CTFs between low and high density populations within each habitat, with the low density site in every instance having the higher proportion. Across habitats, ants comprised a significantly higher proportion of the diet in mangroves, whereas beetles, orthopterans, and snails comprised a significantly higher proportion of the diet in pine rocklands. Approximately 3.5% of all stomachs examined contained anuran remains. Though not significant, CTFs from low density sites consumed a higher proportion of frogs than those at high density sites. Corroborating previous research, the data show the CTF to be a generalist feeder, consuming a wide variety of invertebrate prey, with anurans playing only a minor role in the overall diet.
Additional publication details
Diet of the invasive Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in pine rockland and mangrove habitats in South Florida