Impact of introduced fish on Common frog (Rana temporaria) close to its altitudinal limit in alpine lakes

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Alien fish species have been introduced into naturally fishless mountain lakes worldwide, with negative consequences for native fauna. This study describes the impact of introduced Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) on Common frog (Rana temporaria) in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Western Italian Alps). We conducted an extensive, six years long (2006-2011) monitoring campaign over 12 fishless and 8 stocked lakes, close to the new altitudinal limit of R. temporaria (2811 m a.s.l.). This new altitudinal limit is reported for the first time in this study. The presence of introduced fish was a factor of ecological exclusion, negatively affecting the presence of frogs and compromising the suitability of alpine lakes as breeding sites. These results are likely to depend on larval predation or to selective avoidance of stocked lakes by R. temporaria. Eradication of introduced fish is proposed as a conservation measure to recover amphibian populations in alpine lake ecosystems.

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