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Survival estimates for the invasive American bullfrog

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-02, 08:14 authored by Paige E. Howell, Erin Muths, Brent H. Sigafus, Blake R. Hossack
American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) are significant invaders in many places and can negatively impact native species. Despite their impact and wide distribution, little is known about their demography. We used five years of capture mark-recapture data to estimate annual apparent survival of post-metamorphic bullfrogs in a population on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in their invaded range in Arizona, U.S.A. This population is a potential source of colonists into breeding ponds used by the federally threatened Chiricahua leopard frog (L. chiricahuensis). Results from robust-design Cormack-Jolly-Seber models suggested that survival of bullfrogs was influenced by sex and precipitation but not body condition. Survival was higher for females (mean = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.15, 0.72) than males (mean = 0.17; 95% CI = 0.02, 0.49), and declined with reduced annual precipitation (mean = ‒0.36, 95% CI = ‒2.09, 0.84). These survival estimates can be incorporated into models of population dynamics and to help predict spread of bullfrogs.