SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • amphibian decline;
  • introduced species;
  • predation

Abstract

Amphibians are currently experiencing a severe worldwide decline. Several factors, such as habitat alteration, climate change, emerging diseases or the introduction of exotic species, have been signalled as being responsible for the reduction of amphibian populations. Among these, the introduction of fish predators has been repeatedly indicated as a factor affecting the distribution of many species. The present study was developed to examine the effect of fish presence and other environmental factors on the distribution and abundance of amphibian species in mountain lakes of the Cantabrian Range in northern Spain. We found no effect of salmonid presence on the distribution and abundance of two widespread anuran species Bufo bufo and Alytes obstetricans, whereas Rana temporaria showed a non-significant tendency to be absent from salmonid-occupied lakes. However, the presence of introduced salmonids was the main negative factor explaining the distribution of the newt species Triturus helveticus, Triturus alpestris and Triturus marmoratus. The effect on these species is likely to be due to increased larval mortality, as adult and egg predation by fish, or oviposition avoidance by female newts has rarely been recorded. Fish removal and the creation of alternative breeding habitats for amphibians are proposed as conservation measures to recover amphibian populations in the vicinity of fish-stocked lakes.