Re-introductions of Chiricahua leopard frogs in southwestern USA show promise, but highlight problematic threats and knowledge gaps

  • Published source details Sredl M.J., Akins C.M., King A.D., Sprankle T., Jones T.R., Rorabaugh J.C., Jennings R.D., Painter C.W., Christman M.R., Christman B.L., Crawford C., Servoss J.M., Kruse C.G., Barnitz J. & Telles A. (2011) Re-introductions of Chiricahua leopard frogs in southwestern USA show promise, but highlight problematic threats and knowledge gaps. Pages 85-90 in: Global Re-introduction Perspectives: 2011. More case studies from around the globe. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group & Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, Gland, Switzerland.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove or control invasive bullfrogs

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation

Release captive-bred frogs

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Remove or control invasive bullfrogs

    A before-and-after study in 2008–2011 of leopard frogs in Arizona, USA and Mexico (Sredl et al. 2011) found that eradication of bullfrogs Rana catesbeiana resulted in an increase in range of chiricahua leopard frogs Lithobates chiricahuensis and lowland leopard frogs Lithobates yavapaiensis. Surveys in 2010–2011 showed that chiricahua leopard frogs had dispersed into eight and lowland leopard frogs into three sites that had previously been unsuitable due to presence of bullfrogs. Chiricahua leopard frogs dispersed over 8 km to a site further north than it had recently been documented in the region. Bullfrogs were eradicated between 2008 and 2010.


  2. Release captive-bred frogs

    A review of two release programmes of captive-bred chiricahua leopard frogs Lithobates chiricahuensis in Arizona, USA (Sredl, Akins, King, Sprankle, Jones, Rorabaugh, Jennings, Painter, Christman, Christman, Crawford, Servoss, Kruse, Barnitz & Telles 2011) found that one programme resulted in breeding at four of 13 release sites and at four new localities, whereas the other programme failed. In one programme, breeding was first observed 10 months after releases and a total of 32 egg masses were recorded. In the second programme, multiple releases at four sites over a number of years did not result in the establishment of populations as no frogs were detected from 2009. In the first programme, 3,542 metamorphs and late-stage tadpoles were released at 13 sites throughout a watershed in 2009–2010. In the second programme, frogs were released at three sites from 1996 and four from 2000 to 2011. Most releases comprised fewer than 100 frogs. Surveys were undertaken shortly after release and then two to three times annually.


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