Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 31–37 | Cite as

European newts establish in Australia, marking the arrival of a new amphibian order

  • Reid Tingley
  • Andrew R. Weeks
  • Adam S. Smart
  • Anthony R. van Rooyen
  • Andrew P. Woolnough
  • Michael A. McCarthy
Invasion Note

Abstract

We document the successful establishment of a European newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) in south-eastern Australia, the first recorded case of a caudate species establishing beyond its native geographic range in the southern hemisphere. Field surveys in south-eastern Australia detected L. vulgaris at six sites, including four sites where the species had been detected 15 months earlier. Larvae were detected at three sites. Individuals had identical NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 and cytb mtDNA gene sequences, and comparisons with genetic data from the species’ native range suggest that these individuals belong to the nominal subspecies L. v. vulgaris. Climatic conditions across much of southern Australia are similar to those experienced within the species’ native range, suggesting scope for substantial range expansion. Lissotriton vulgaris had been available in the Australian pet trade for decades before it was declared a ‘controlled pest animal’ in 1997, and thus the invasion documented here likely originated via the release or escape of captive animals. Lissotriton vulgaris is the sole member of an entire taxonomic order to have established in Australia, and given the potential toxicity of this species, further work is needed to delimit its current range and identify potential biodiversity impacts.

Keywords

Caudata Climate match Lissotriton vulgaris Pet trade Potential distribution Triturus vulgaris Urodela 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reid Tingley
    • 1
  • Andrew R. Weeks
    • 2
    • 3
  • Adam S. Smart
    • 1
  • Anthony R. van Rooyen
    • 3
  • Andrew P. Woolnough
    • 4
  • Michael A. McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BotanyThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Cesar Pty LtdParkvilleAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Environment and Primary IndustriesEast MelbourneAustralia

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