New introduced species in Alabama

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Coluber Constrictor
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New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Coluber Constrictor » March 19th, 2013, 5:56 pm

Rio Grande Chirping Frogs (Eleutherodactylus cystiganthoides) have been turning up in southern Alabama lately. Raymond and Tamara McConnell found the first ones a couple of months ago, and I saw at least three the other day (along with dozens of greenhouse frogs). My theory is that they came in on a shipment of Aloe from the Rio Grande Valley. Hoping to go back to this location soon and get some better photos .

Image

Raymond McConnell
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Raymond McConnell » March 19th, 2013, 6:33 pm

James: We found the first one on 01/11/13 at a site approximately 8 miles north of the spot Tamara took you to where you found this frog. On 02/11/13, we caught three from the first site and seven from the spot where the one pictured here was found. I gave Dr. Craig Guyer from Auburn several of these and they will give us additional confirmation when and if they can get them to call and/or DNA work is done. Since they appear to be quite abundant and vary in size and age, it is highly likely that these are reproducing populations.

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Jared Cain
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Jared Cain » March 19th, 2013, 8:41 pm

Pardon my ignorance but what is protocol for finding a non native species? Im not sure about herps anywhere but I do know in Maryland FWS wants you to kill and report any Snake head fish that are caught. Just wondering if it would be the same?

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justinm
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by justinm » March 20th, 2013, 5:14 am

I would contact your Dept of Natural Resources. They will give you all the answers you need without us speculating on how you should do it. Some states are very hands off so I would call first.

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chrish
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by chrish » March 20th, 2013, 6:21 am

That's a shame. Even though I like cystignathoides and enjoy hearing the peeping in my yard when it rains, I still know they shouldn't be here and they are a poor substitute for the species that should.

I watched this species invade and spread into Houston in the 70s and 80s. The rate at which they invaded and spread was scary.

Apparently the Greenhouse Frog is moving the other way and presumably showing up in Texas now. I would love to hear a recording of the two species calling together. I want to know if they are easily distinguished by their calls like the species we have around here (cystignathoides and marnockii).

Ecto Hunter
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Ecto Hunter » March 20th, 2013, 6:35 am

chrish wrote:I watched this species invade and spread into Houston in the 70s and 80s. The rate at which they invaded and spread was scary.

Did you happen to notice any reduction in other frog pops after their arrival?

Coluber Constrictor
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Coluber Constrictor » March 22nd, 2013, 5:09 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I figured these guys weren't very bad invasives. At least, compared to, say, Cuban Treefrogs or something (which we don't have in Mobile yet that I know of). We do have Brown Anoles now, which I'm not thrilled about.

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dery
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by dery » March 22nd, 2013, 5:23 pm

Never been to The Rio Grande, or Texas for that matter, But in LA at the SCC we found atleast one. I heard at sometime that they have more than one pop there.

Shane_TX
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Shane_TX » March 22nd, 2013, 7:38 pm

Rio Grande Chirping Frogs (Eleutherodactylus cystiganthoides) have been turning up in Mobile County lately.
What are the odds that they were already there, say a decade or more ago? I doubt that the answer is a recent aloe shipment! Good notice though, in any case.

Shane

Coluber Constrictor
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Coluber Constrictor » March 22nd, 2013, 8:10 pm

Probably not quite a decade. We've had greenhouse frogs for about that time and they've spread a lot in these past few years alone. I haven't seen chirping frogs within the city limits yet but I'm sure that will change soon.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Josh Holbrook » March 23rd, 2013, 5:20 am

Great find! I can't tell those dang Elutherodactylus apart...

Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » March 23rd, 2013, 6:19 am

Thanks for the heads-up, Josh.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Josh Holbrook » March 23rd, 2013, 6:34 am

My theory is that they came in on a shipment of Aloe from the Rio Grande Valley.
Wait'll Oustalet's Chameleons start showing up in Palm shipments. :beer:

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Don Cascabel
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Don Cascabel » March 24th, 2013, 8:55 am

Welcome to the wonderful world of Syrrhophus!!!

Don Cascabel

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chrish
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by chrish » March 24th, 2013, 11:20 am

Ecto Hunter wrote:
chrish wrote:I watched this species invade and spread into Houston in the 70s and 80s. The rate at which they invaded and spread was scary.
Did you happen to notice any reduction in other frog pops after their arrival?
Not really. I don't think they were competing with much in that area at the time. They are much more tolerant of urban area than most native frogs anyway.
Great find! I can't tell those dang Elutherodactylus apart...
Yeah, they suck where there is more than one species (or you don't know the local species).

Where I live the two species are pretty easy to differentiate because of the size difference. But when planirostris and cystignathoides come together, all bets are off.

Reptiluvr
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Reptiluvr » March 25th, 2013, 4:16 am

Eradicate now before they start eating all the mammals!

teter247
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by teter247 » March 26th, 2013, 6:09 pm

What a perfect thread for my thoughts on the day! For 99% of all invasive species, the sentiments mentioned in previous responses are perfectly appropriate. Kill em and do your best to get rid of em. But in the case of Cystignathoides, and others like the Med. Gecks, these tend to occupy otherwise unoccupied niches, and cause no harm to the surrounding ecosystems (at least to my knowledge), and in fact may help (by providing abundant prey items to other higher order predators among other things).

I know that our knee-jerk response is to hate any and all invasives, but if the timeline extends far enough, all species are invasive.

There can be no argument that humans increase the rates of what would otherwise be normal range expansions for many species, but I get the distinct impression from many ecologists and environmentalists that the goal is essentially ecological stagnation, where the seemed intent is to prevent any future alterations to an environment or ecosystem, which is of course unnatural as well.

Some, emphasis on the word some, range expansions are natural (even if the cause is human), and can certainly upset the balance of many ecosystems, but the reality is this has been happening for millions of years (albeit not to such augmented rates due to rampant human population growth and its associated ignorance).

So the question is this, by officially hijacking the thread, should we really hate them all? Or should we adopt a more cautious approach, and maybe even a live and let live approach to those whose effects are minimal?

Pythons in Florida, Kill em all. Cystignathoides in East Texas and Alabama...????

TH

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Josh Holbrook » March 26th, 2013, 6:31 pm

Teter - You're right, but I would say your wording is a little off: 100% of invasive species are bad in ecosystem terms, but very few (10% or less?) exotic species are. I for one wish there were a better method of delineating when something is invasive or exotic, as many exotic species are labeled invasive with insufficient evidence: this new frog species in the neighborhood is not likely invasive at this point.

Coluber Constrictor
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Coluber Constrictor » March 26th, 2013, 7:12 pm

I don't think greenhouse or chirping frogs will displace any of our native frog species, but is there any threat of them spreading diseases to them?

Reptiluvr
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Re: New introduced species in Alabama

Post by Reptiluvr » March 27th, 2013, 6:31 am

teter247 wrote: There can be no argument that humans increase the rates of what would otherwise be normal range expansions for many species, but I get the distinct impression from many ecologists and environmentalists that the goal is essentially ecological stagnation, where the seemed intent is to prevent any future alterations to an environment or ecosystem, which is of course unnatural as well.
I have fought with this very problem in my mind. At what point are our environmentally guided actions actually inhibiting natural progress?

As far as the ecological effects of Hemidactylus turcicus and Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides, they must have some effect on arthropod populations, large or small. A few years ago I did a literature review of H. turcicus and didn't find anything on their effects, just a few prey items. Has any research been done looking at our small exotic herps?
Economically I know the presence of Hemidactylus mabouia in south Florida has increased sales in newspapers, sandals, Raid and expanding foam :lol:

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