Vulnerability of Southwest Iberian amphibians to an introduced crayfish, Procambarus clarkii

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Abstract

The introduction of predators in amphibian breeding habitats may contribute to the decline or extinction of amphibian populations. Procambarus clarkii, a North American crayfish, was recently introduced in the Iberian Peninsula, being now quite abundant in the southwest, a region with no native crayfish species and where 13 amphibian species may be found. We performed mesocosm experiments to evaluate the vulnerability of amphibian embryos and larvae from those species to P. clarkii. Despite the presence of alternative food (vegetation and leaf litter), embryo survival in the presence of P. clarkii was low for all species except Bufo bufo. However, newly hatched B. bufo tadpoles were readily consumed. P. clarkii reduced larval survival in all species, with those species that in nature have few contacts with predators at the larval stage suffering the highest mortalities. Most larvae reduced their activity and/or altered microhabitat use in the presence of P. clarkii, but these behavioural modifications did not lead necessarily to a low vulnerability to predation.

Vulnerability of Southwest Iberian amphibians to an introduced crayfish, Procambarus clarkii

in Amphibia-Reptilia

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