American Bullfrog

 

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Society of British Columbia

Latin name:

Lithobates catesbeiana

Native to:

Eastern North America

Regional Distribution:

The American Bullfrog is not yet found within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.  In British Columbia, it can be found in the lower mainland, southern Vancouver Island, South Okanagan, and recently in the South Kootenays.  It is widely distributed in the western United States where initial introductions took place.

Description:

American Bullfrogs are large robust frogs, green or brown in colour with large golden eyes. Adult females are larger than males and can reach 20 cm in length and 750 g in weight.  Both males and females have a large distinct tympanum (ear) behind the eye.  For more information visit the B.C. Frogwatch Program.

Impacts of invasion:

  • Voracious predator that eats anything that fits into its mouth, including endangered native amphibians and fish (including their eggs and larvae)
  • Can spread the chytrid fungus, which is responsible for declining amphibian populations
  • Readily outcompetes native frog populations. There is scientific evidence that when bullfrog colonies grow in wetlands it is followed by a rapid decline of native frogs
  • Tadpoles act as “ecosystem engineers”, meaning they are extremely competitive and take food and habitat away from native frogs

Control:

Mapping the spread and physically catching and removing American Bullfrogs from the ecosystem can reduce the movement of this invader into the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

You can help! Don’t transport Bullfrogs from one pond to another.  Bullfrog tadpoles and adults can be enticing ‘pets’ for children and for gardeners looking to liven up their backyard ponds, but this simple form of movement seems to be one of the primary ways Bullfrogs spread across the province.

Report:
There are no known infestations of American Bullfrog within the Columbia Shuswap, so we need your help to report any sightings in this region. Please send in an online report and take photos to help with species ID.

Fun facts:
American Bullfrogs are voracious predators.  They will eat anything that fits into their mouth including insects and other small invertebrates, birds, small mammals, snakes, and other frogs (including smaller Bullfrogs). Watch this impressive National Geographic video of their hunting.

Helpful Links:
Video of American Bullfrog Calling

American Bullfrog in the Central Kootenays

Frogwatch BC - report provincial frog and bullfrog sightings!