Multiple origins of invasive and ‘native’ water frogs (Pelophylax spp.) in Switzerland.

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 112. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12283


The marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) has been introduced in many areas in Central and Western Europe as a result of commercial trade with Eastern Europe, and is rapidly replacing the native pool frog (P. lessonae). A large number of Pelophylax species are distributed in Eastern Europe and the strong phenotypic similarity between these species is rendering their identification hazardous. Consequently, alien populations of Pelophylax might not strictly be composed of P. ridibundus as previously suspected. In the present study, we analysed the cytochrome-b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 3 genes of introduced and native Pelophylax species from Switzerland (299 individuals) in order to properly identify the source populations of the invaders and the genetic status of the native species. Our study highlighted the occurrence of several genetic lineages of invasive frogs in western Switzerland. Unexpectedly, we also showed that several populations of the native pool frog (P. lessonae) cluster with the Italian pool frog P. bergeri from central Italy (considered by some authors as a subspecies of P. lessonae). Hence, these populations are probably also the result of introductions, meaning that the number of native P. lessonae populations is fewer than expected in Switzerland. These findings have important implications concerning the conservation of the endemic pool frog populations, as the presence of multiple alien species could strongly affect their long-term subsistence.

Multiple origins of invasive and ‘native’ water frogs (Pelophylax spp.) in Switzerland.

Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261675084_Multiple_origins_of_invasive_and_%27native%27_water_frogs_Pelophylax_spp_in_Switzerland [accessed Nov 27 2017].

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