Assessing the impacts of the invasive frog, Xenopus laevis, on amphibians in western France

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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As invasive species are one of the principal threats on global biodiversity, assessing their impact is a crucial element of conservation biology. Quantifying the possible impacts of an invasive population represents the first step in the establishment of efficient management plans. In this study, we applied a method of site-occupancy modeling to estimate the influence of an invasive frog, Xenopus laevis, on the amphibian species richness in western France. In our analyses we took into account habitat characteristics (i.e. the size and general shape of the ponds), the structure of the aquatic vegetation, the presence of other vertebrates, and the physicochemical parameters of the pond. Richness was negatively related to the abundance of X. laevis and to the time since colonization as estimated by the distance of the pond to the site of introduction. Habitat niche breadth of native amphibians did not differ between invaded and non-invaded areas. This might be a consequence of the homogeneity of the habitats selected for our study. The lack of heterogeneity in the abiotic factors, the absence of a correlation between species richness and these abiotic factors, and the correlation of the abundance and time since colonization by X. laevis with species richness suggest a negative effect of this species on local amphibians. This result highlights the importance of conservation and management plans aiming to limit the expansion of this invasive species.

Assessing the impacts of the invasive frog, Xenopus laevis, on amphibians in western France

in Amphibia-Reptilia



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    Distribution of the expanding population of Xenopus laevis in western France. Black dots represent the occurrence localities of the species; yellow dots are the selected study sites and the introduction site is represented by a red star.

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    Summary of the best models obtained with the N-mixture method (Royle, 2004) to estimate species richness. Biotic and abiotic parameters were considered one by one to test their influence on species richness. For every model, the detection probability was assumed to be constant between visits. Only models with an AIC better than the null model are listed here. Resistivity (RES) and total dissolved solids (TDS) were the only abiotic parameters with a better AICc than the null model.

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    N-mixture estimates of species richness according to (a) the abundance of Xenopus laevis and (b) the distance to the introduction site. The small black dots represent the data for species richness and the large black dots represent the estimations with the standard errors represented by error bars.

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    Effects of Xenopus laevis on the niche position and breadth of native amphibians and its co-occurrence with these native amphibians. The Evenness J was calculated in the area occupied by X. laevis Jocc and in the uncolonized area Jctrl. The modification of Evenness ΔJ occurring after colonization is also presented. The Morisita’s niche overlap index CH shows the overlap between the niches of each native species and X. laevis. The co-occurrence analysis compared the observed co-occurrence (Obs Cooc) with the expected co-occurrence (Exp Cooc) and determined if they were significantly different (p-value).


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