Perspectives on invasive amphibians in Brazil

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 22;12(9):e0184703. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184703. eCollection 2017.


Introduced species have the potential to become invasive and jeopardize entire ecosystems. The success of species establishing viable populations outside their original extent depends primarily on favorable climatic conditions in the invasive ranges. Species distribution modeling (SDM) can thus be used to estimate potential habitat suitability for populations of invasive species. Here we review the status of six amphibian species with invasive populations in Brazil (four domestic species and two imported species). We (i) modeled the current habitat suitability and future potential distribution of these six focal species, (ii) reported on the disease status of Eleutherodactylus johnstonei and Phyllodytes luteolus, and (iii) quantified the acoustic overlap of P. luteolus and Leptodactylus labyrinthicus with three co-occurring native species. Our models indicated that all six invasive species could potentially expand their ranges in Brazil within the next few decades. In addition, our SDMs predicted important expansions in available habitat for 2 out of 6 invasive species under future (2100) climatic conditions. We detected high acoustic niche overlap between invasive and native amphibian species, underscoring that acoustic interference might reduce mating success in local frogs. Despite the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus being recognized as a potential reservoir for the frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Brazil, we did not detect Bd in the recently introduced population of E. johnstonei and P. luteolus in the State of São Paulo. We emphasize that the number of invasive amphibian species in Brazil is increasing exponentially, highlighting the urgent need to monitor and control these populations and decrease potential impacts on the locally biodiverse wildlife.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Communication
  • Animal Distribution
  • Animals
  • Anura* / microbiology
  • Brazil
  • Ecosystem
  • Introduced Species*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mycoses / veterinary
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Sound Spectrography

Grant support

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) provided financial support (grant #2011/51694-7, #2011/52070-7, #2014/23388-7) to LFT. The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) provided support for LFT (#302589/2013-9; #405285/2013-2), to CGB (#312895/2014-3), to ISO (#161812/2011-2), and to LRF (#438675/2016-9). LRF and LT were supported by grants #2013/21519-4 and #2013/02219-0, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). CFBH was supported by grants #2013/50741-7 and #2014/50342-8, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and CNPq (302518/2013-4) for a research fellowship. Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) provided support to ISO (#3855/13-9). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.