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The impact of invasive species on reptiles and amphibians

Prepared by Dr. Jeffrey E. Lovich, USGS, Biological Resources Division, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside

Native amphibian and reptile populations worldwide are under threat from exotic invasive species of plants and animals, including other reptiles and amphibians. As habitats are changed and plant community organization is modified by exotic species, delicate relationships between plants and animals are altered or eliminated. For the most part, the impacts of exotic species on herps have been negative.
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Impact of exotic invasive plants on selected reptiles

Desert tortoise Sea turtle

Click on the photos for more information on the impacts of selected species on native reptiles and amphibians.

Impact of invasive exotic animals on native reptiles and amphibians

As a group, reptiles and amphibians have been very successful as invaders. Prior to 1978, 75 exotic species were introduced into the United States in numbers sufficient to allow establishment (Smith and Kohler, 1978), including some 50 species in Florida alone (Wilson and Porras, 1983). The rate of introduction of exotic reptiles and amphibians into South Florida was fairly constant from 1940-1958. However, from 1958-1983 the rate of invasion increased three-fold (Wilson and Porras, 1983).

SOURCES

Trout Cane toad Bullfrog Brown tree snake Slider turtle African clawed frog Fire ant

Click on the photos for more information on the impacts of selected species on native reptiles and amphibians. Photographs provided by Jack Crayon (clawed frog), Whit Gibbons (slider turtle), Kathie Meyer (desert tortoise), Rick Redak (fire ant), and Gordon Rodda (brown tree snake). All other photos by Jeff Lovich.

Links to other useful web sites