Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 799–815 | Cite as

Effects of the non-native amphibian species Discoglossus pictus on the recipient amphibian community: niche overlap, competition and community organization

  • Alex Richter-Boix
  • Núria Garriga
  • Albert Montori
  • Marc Franch
  • Olatz San Sebastián
  • Dani Villero
  • Gustavo A. Llorente
Original Paper


The painted frog, Discoglossus pictus, was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula 100 years ago and its distribution has steadily increased since then. We studied the effects of this non-native amphibian species on the native ones in the northeastern area of the peninsula. We compared amphibian assemblages in regions with and without D. pictus to estimate niche overlap between species. Additionally, we carried out a laboratory evaluation of the effects of competition between the non-native and the two native species with which it overlaps most commonly: Bufo calamita and Pelodytes punctatus. The presence of D. pictus larvae reduced the survival, body mass and activity of B. calamita, and increased time to metamorphosis. Furthermore, D. pictus showed the highest consumption rate while P. punctatus showed the lowest. One possible consequence of these competitive interactions is an alteration of species co-occurrence patterns in the recipient community on a regional scale. In the non-invaded area, the checkerboard score (C-score) of co-occurrence indicated that the community was structured, whereas the standardized C-score in the invaded area indicated that the community did not differ significantly from having a random structure. These results suggest that competition between native and non-native species can cause recipient communities to become less structured.


Invasive species Competition Community response Co-occurrence 



We thank the Parc Natural del Garraf and the Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge of the Generalitat de Catalunya for their support and permission to collect clutches. ARB was supported by a Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture postdoctoral grant (MEC2007-0944) and a Catalan postdoctoral fellowship (BP-DGR 2008). We also thank Emili García-Berthou, G. F. Ficetola, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. All of the animals subjected to the laboratory experiments were cared for in accordance with the guidelines of the Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee (Comitè Ètic d’Experimentació Animal—CEEA) of the University of Barcelona.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Richter-Boix
    • 1
    • 2
  • Núria Garriga
    • 3
  • Albert Montori
    • 3
  • Marc Franch
    • 2
    • 3
  • Olatz San Sebastián
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dani Villero
    • 5
  • Gustavo A. Llorente
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Population Biology and Conservation BiologyUppsala UniversitetUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Fundació EmysRiudarenes, GironaSpain
  3. 3.Departament de Biologia Animal (Vertebrats), Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi, Departamento de HerpetologíaSan SebastiánSpain
  5. 5.Grup d’Ecologia del Paisatge, Centre Tecnològic Forestal de CatalunyaCarretera de Sant Llorenç de MorunysLleidaSpain

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