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Keywords:

  • Anura;
  • Brazil;
  • diversity;
  • invasion;
  • Lithobates catesbeianus;
  • Ranidae

Abstract

The relationship between invasion success and native biodiversity is central to biological invasion research. New theoretical and analytical approaches have revealed that spatial scale, land-use factors and community assemblages are important predictors of the relationship between community diversity and invasibility and the negative effects of invasive species on community diversity. In this study we assess if the abundance of Lithobates catesbeianus, the American bullfrog, negatively affects the richness of native amphibian species in Atlantic Forest waterbodies in Brazil. Although this species has been invading Atlantic Forest areas since the 1930s, studies that estimate the invasion effects upon native species diversity are lacking. We developed a model to understand the impact of environmental, spatial and species composition gradients on the relationships between bullfrogs and native species richness. We found a weak positive relationship between bullfrog abundance and species richness in invaded areas. The path model revealed that this is an indirect relationship mediated by community composition gradients. Our results indicate that bullfrogs are more abundant in certain amphibian communities, which can be species-rich. Local factors describing habitat heterogeneity were the main predictors of amphibian species richness and composition and bullfrog abundance. Our results reinforce the important role of habitats in determining both native species diversity and potential invasibility.