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Killer tadpoles threaten Andaman archipelago’s native frog species


The Indian bullfrog, which is native to the Indian sub-continent, has recently invaded the Andaman archipelago. This group of islands lies about 1200 km east of the Indian mainland. The bullfrog was probably introduced to the archipelago in the early 2000s – either as adults released for human consumption, as tadpoles that contaminated aqua-cultural stocks, or both.

In these tropical islands of the Bay of Bengal, this large frog – it can grow up to 160 mm in length, a good three to five times larger than the native frogs – has spread remarkably fast. This is cause for concern, both ecologically and economically. That’s because of the frog’s “anything goes” attitude to feeding. The adults prey on a host of endemic vertebrates, including fishes, frogs, lizards, snakes, and even birds. The bullfrog doesn’t even spare poultry, which many households on the islands keep, making their invasion a problem for the economy too.

Our new study reveals that not only the adult bullfrogs pose a threat to the Andaman archipelago’s native frog species: their tadpoles do, too. MORE

Header image: Carnivorous bullfrog tadpoles don’t even spare their own. Credit: Nitya Mohanty.

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