Details of this species in Venezuela
Occurrence: Established and expanding
Source: Bonaccorso et al. 2003, in Hanselmann et al. 2004; Santos-Barrera et al. 2009
Arrival Date: 1998
Species Notes for this Location:
In Venezuela, the bullfrog became established in 1998 following illegal releases into Andean waterbodies. Bullfrog were released illegally in ponds and artificial lagoons. They now constitute a big problem; the estimated population of bullfrog ranges to the hundreds of thousands of adults. There is an expanding American bullfrog population near La Azulita, in Mérida state, at the Andean versants facing Lake Maracaibo basin (Santos-Barrera et al. 2009). A growing population is now established in the Venezuelan Andes (C. Gottberg & A. Diaz Pers. Comm., in Santos-Barrera et al. 2009), near the town of Jají, in Mérida State.
Management Notes for this Location:
The Venezuelan government has taken actions to avoid the spread of the American bullfrog (Santos-Barrera et al. 2009). There has been an eradication program, with participants from the University of Los Andes at Mérida, the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) and the Ministry of Environment, instated at the beginning of 2002 (Santos-Barrera et al. 2009). In 2003, the Ministry of Environment introduced a bounty system to encourage licensed hunters to target the frog. It offered 1000 bolivars (equivalent to about US 50 cents) per dead female frog, 500 bolivars for a male, and 300 bolivers per kilogram of tadpoles. By the end of that year, more than USD 1640 had been paid for some 4700 bullfrogs.
Venezuela has diverse amphibian fauna, with more than 300 species, seven of which are listed as threatened (critically endangered or endangered) and four more listed as under lower risk (Gorzula and Senaris 1998, Rodriguez & Rojas Suarez 1999, in Hanselmann et al. 2004).
Disease transmission: In one study, conducted on a population of introduced American bullfrogs (N=48) in the Venezuelan Andes B. dendrobatidis was present in 96% of the individuals examined. The majority of frogs had few small lesions consistent with little clinical disease and no unusual mortality was observed. The high prevalence of Batrachochytrium but lack of clinical signs or chytridiomycosis-related mortality suggests that L. catesbeianus may be a good reservoir for this parasite in Venezuela (Hanselmann et al. 2004).
Threat to endangered species: The zone of Merida state, called Jaji, is near the habitat of some endemic frogs of the genus Atelopus, especially the IUCN Red List Critically Endangered Venezuelan yellow frog (A. carbonerensis), which may be extinct.
Last Modified: 13/01/2010 1:07:04 p.m.