New Neighbors: Clawed Frogs Identified As Invasive Species In Florida
By Zuri Anderson
April 14, 2021
Attention, Floridians: another invasive species has been identified in the state, and this time it's a frog.
Naples Daily News said the tropical clawed frog was reported in the Tampa area. Also known as the western clawed frogs, these frogs are typically found in West Africa. They were first discovered in 2014 on a resident's property, but researchers initially believed them to be African clawed frogs, another nonnative species.
“The Tropical clawed frog invasion represents yet another disturbance to Florida’s aquatic ecosystems, particularly those in southern Florida, which are already vulnerable due to habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species and disease,” Christina Romagosa said, a University of Florida research associate professor of wildlife ecology and conservation.
Reporters also noted that tropical clawed frogs are voracious eaters. While they mostly feast on insects, they're also known to sometimes eat tadpoles and young frogs of other species. On top of predation, experts are worried that they will outcompete native frogs and spread dangerous infections among to other native species.
"This marks the first report of this species of frog outside its native range in West Africa," Naple Daily wrote. Experts aren't sure whether they will continue to spread into other parts of the state."
The tropical clawed frog joins the ever-expanding list of invasive species in the Sunshine State, including monster fishes, large pythons and mosquitoes.
Photo: Getty Images