American bullfrog

Lithobates catesbeianus

Overview

Photo credit: ©GBNNSS
Lithobates catesbeianus
Common Names:
  • American bullfrog

Habitat:
  • Wide range of wetlands, particularly man-made ponds, canals, ditches and reservoirs. It will colonise any permanent still or slow-moving waterbody, like lakes, marshes, bogs and, rivers.

Description:
  • The American bullfrog is a large green or brown North American frog, up to 20cm long and weighing up to 500g. Its name comes from its distinctive bellowing calls.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • The American bullfrog is the largest of the North American frogs.
  • Originally introduced into Europe for consumption and as a pet, it has since escaped into the wild, colonising a wide range of habitats, including ponds, swamps, reservoirs, marshes and irrigation channels. It is currently established in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Great Britain, and it could easily invade other countries.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • Its size, breeding capacity, and voracious appetite enable it to out compete and displace other native amphibian species.
  • It is also known to pass on lethal diseases to wildlife, such as the chytrid fungus, implicated in massive die-offs of amphibians worldwide.
  • It is tolerant to a wide range of habitats and conditions, including temperate regions, and may thrive in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • It may predate upon native fauna, leading to a localised reduction in species numbers; this species is unlikely to be preyed upon as tadpoles are unpalatable to most vertebrate predators.¬†

How did it/could it get here?
  • Through importation but the import of this species has already been banned through the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation, but its inclusion on the Union list of Invasive Alien Species will ensure further concerted action to contain its invasion and prevent its spread into other countries.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • Not present in Ireland or Northern Ireland


Methods for Prevention:
  • The import of this species has already been banned through the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation, but its inclusion on the Union list of Invasive Alien Species will ensure further concerted action to contain its invasion and prevent its spread into other countries.
  • Report all sightings to CEDaR.

Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment. For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland