, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 1667-1676

Avoidance Response of Juvenile Pacific Treefrogs to Chemical Cues of Introduced Predatory Bullfrogs

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Abstract

Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana), native to eastern North America, were introduced into Oregon in the 1930's. Bullfrogs are highly efficient predators that are known to eat a variety of prey including other amphibians. In laboratory experiments, we investigated whether juvenile Pacific treefrogs (Hyla regilla) recognize adult bullfrogs as a predatory threat. The ability of prey animals to acquire recognition of an introduced predator has important implications for survival of the prey. We found that treefrogs from a population that co-occurred with bullfrogs showed a strong avoidance of chemical cues of bullfrogs. In contrast, treefrogs from a population that did not co-occur with bullfrogs, did not respond to the bullfrog cues. Additional experiments showed that both populations of treefrogs use chemical cues to mediate predation risk. Treefrogs from both populations avoided chemical alarm cues from injured conspecifics.