Cuban treefrogs in Florida are important prey items in the diets of a number of aquatic and terrestrial snakes (Carmichael and Williams, 1991).Invasion History: The first reports of the Cuban treefrog occurring in the United States date to 1931 from Key West, although the species likely existed there well before it was reported. Introduction was likely accidental, e.g., as undetected stowaways in import vegetables from Cuba (Behler 1979). By the early 1950s, Osteopilus septentrionalis was present in most of the Keys, and by 1952 specimens were turning up in mainland Florida (Miami) as well (Schwartz 1952). Northward range expansion continued such that the species was confirmed present in Broward County by 1960, and in St. Lucie and Indian River counties less than 20 years later (King 1960, Myers 1977). Range expansion continued on the Gulf coast of Florida such that the species was confirmed in Naples by 1970 and in Fort Meyers and Sanibel Island by the early 1980s (Duellman and Crombie 1970, Wilson and Porras 1983). The species is now established on the east coast of Florida as far north as Jacksonville.Unintended introduction of O. septentrionalis to new locations in the state is no doubt still facilitated through the unintentional transportation of individuals hidden in shipping crates or on potted plants and shrubs transplanted into new locations (Behler 1979). Potential to Compete With Natives: Cuban treefrogs will eat smaller native frogs, preying on them as they attempt to utilize the same breeding sites (Allen and Neill 1953, Carmichael and Williams 1991). The larger size of the Cuban treefrogs likely also gives them an advantage in traditional competitive interactions with native species.Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that Osteopilus septentrionalis tadpoles are competitive dominants in interactions with tadpoles of two native species, and anecdotal reports from Florida homeowners suggests that adult O. septentrionalis are replacing natives in backyard ecological communities (Johnson 2007). Possible Economic Consequences of Invasion: Large-scale economic effects of exotic Cuban treefrogs in Florida have yet to be reported, although the species can be a nuisance animal, e.g., entering homes and getting into and possibly disrupting the function of outdoor electrical boxes (Johnson 2007). The skin secretions of this frog can be irritating, especially to highly sensitive people (Carmichael and Williams 1991).
- Allen E.R., and W.T. Neill. 1953. The treefrog Hyla septentrionalis in Florida. Copeia 1953:127-128.
- Ashton R.E., and P.S. Ashton. 1988. Handbook Of Reptiles And Amphibians of Florida. Part Three The Amphibians. Windward Publishing, Inc., Lakeville MN. 191 p.
- Banks R.C., McDiarmid R.W, Gardner A.L., and W.C. Starnes. 2004. Checklist of vertebrates of the United States, the U.S. Territories,and Canada. U.S. Dept of Interior. 79 p.
- Behler J.L. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Retiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 743 p.
- Carmichael P., and W. Williams. 1991. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians. World Publications, Tampa, FL. 120 p.
- Conant R., and J.T. Collins. 1991. Reptiles And Amphibians. Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 450 p.
- Duellman W.E., and A. Schwartz. 1958. Amphibians and reptiles of southern Florida. Bulletin of the Florida Museum 3:181-324.
- Duellman W.E., and R.I. Crombie. 1970. Pages 92.1-92.4 in: Reimer W.J. (Ed.). Catalogue Of American Amphibians And Reptiles. American Society Of Ichthyologists And Herpetologists.
- Johnson S.A. 2006. The Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in Florida. UF/IFAS document is WEC218. Available online.
- King W. 1960. New populations of West Indian reptiles and amphibians in southeastern Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy Science 23:71-73.
- Mattison C. 1987. Frogs and Toads of the World. Facts On File Publications, New York. 191 p.Myers S. 1977. Geographic distribution: Osteopilus septentrionalis. Herpetology Review 8:38.
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