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UK non native amphibians

slippery42

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As a working ecologist we continually find non natives particularly in the south of england.

In the last week we have recorded the following species

Marsh Frog...very widespread

Edible Frog.. spreading

European Tree Frogs...??? possible on one of our sites but no photo yet.


I'd be interested in any others which forum users have come across in England
 

John

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Hello Graeme, and welcome. A very interesting topic. I echo your curiosity. I had heard rumours of everything from Triturus marmoratus to Salamandra. I know there are people here with the knowledge, so I encourage them to share what they've seen please.
 

lims

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indeeeed

i heard alpine newts were introduced succesfully into north east england in the 70's but i dont know where to find them, there were colonies breeding apparently, and i heard of european tree frogs in the new forest breeding in the 80's, as for salamanders i don't know, hmmmmmmm, this is extremely intersting...
 

lims

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plus there are fears of italian crested newts inter-breeding with great crested newts, i think..
 

John

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As I recall the treefrogs are long gone. As for alpine newts, they do appear to be found in a few areas across the country. Heck there were Xenopus in Wales for a few years!
 

lims

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'xenopus' in wales? could i have a link to this creature please? where was it?
we have the grey squirell syndrome with american cuttlefish out-doing the native smaller cuttlefish aswell, but zip thats not amphibious.
i am interested in trying to rear axies out doors in a pond actually, i heard its been done before.
what kinds of newts would survive u think? i would love to indroduce some, but have to pick carefully?... bosca's, maybe, hmmmmmmm
 

Abrahm

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Xenopus is a genus of the family Pipidae that are commonly known as African clawed frogs the most common ones being Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis. They are common pets and are also used as a model organism in the lab setting for developmental work. There are plenty of populations of escaped/release Xenopus in the United States also. Googling Xenopus will get you scads of information and pictures.

i am interested in trying to rear axies out doors in a pond actually, i heard its been done before.
what kinds of newts would survive u think? i would love to indroduce some, but have to pick carefully?... bosca's, maybe, hmmmmmmm

Hold on, you definitely do not want to be introducing non-native species into your environment. Not only is it usually illegal, it is also bad news for local species. Take Xenopus a known asymptomatic carrier of chytrid fungus. Introducing these animals can cause untold damage to local populations as most amphibians don't have defense mechanisms against chytrid. Other diseases can also be introduced into wild populations. Sometimes native animals cannot compete with non-native species, especially if they have defense mechanisms native predators can't easily defeat.

For these reasons I would also recommend against keeping non-native species in ponds, even if the pond is "escape proof." Frogs and other amphibians may use these ponds with axolotls in them and it is possible that some unknown pathogenic agent may be transfered to them and cause all sorts of problems for native species.
 

lims

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oh, ok..
but alpine newts were ok to be introduced werent they? is there not any other species that can be introduced if its habits and nature are considered first?
 

Kaysie

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I highly doubt alpines were introduced on purpose. It usually happens that some dumb kid lets his critters go, and they start a population.

It's not ideal for one person to make the decision to introduce a species. Often, even legislation makes bad decisions (look at Australia and its cane toad/rabbit issues). Purple loosestrife is a TERRIBLY invasive plant that was 'accidentally' introduced from peoples wildflower gardens. Emerald Ash Borer has completely decimated nearly the entire Ash tree population in the Great Lakes basin as it came over in shipping crates.

Mother nature usually knows what she's doing. It's when people think they can improve on a situation that things get messed up.

England has 3 native newts for a reason.
 

freves

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An alternative project to keep in mind would be to setup a pond along with native plants and perhaps some rocks and logs in order to attract native species. By doing it this way you are helping out what is already there and not running the risk of contaminating the environment any further by trying to introduce alien species. I plan on this same project for next spring.
Chip
 

Mark

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I’ve caught Rana pipiens in the grounds of Bristol Uni. (John – you may remember the small pond at the bottom of Fort Gardens, by the physics block). Probably an unwanted pet.

In 2005 English Nature conducted a study of naturalized animals in the UK and counted 8 alien amphibian species (I bet Rana pipiens wasn’t on the list): http://www.english-nature.org.uk/pubs/publication/pdf/662.pdf

Sadly there doesn’t appear to be a list on the publication. Who wants to guess at all 8?

Edit: I've asked them to send me a list. Lets wait and see.
 
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lims

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at my parents house in newcastle my street is like a little tree filled oasis in the city, i have a small pond where u might find smooth newts which I introduced from wales..
I also want to make a pond for great crested newts somewhere, aquire some legalally and tend to there watery garden... and watery needs... anyone done this before?
 

Mark

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By populating your pond with newts from a different area of the country you risk spreading amphibian diseases. For example chytridiomycosis has been found in wild populations of naturalized frogs in southern UK and whilst measures have been taken to eradicate the source it may be present in native populations. Your actions were probably harmless but why take the risk? – if your pond is a good habitat the newts (including crested if they live in your area) will come of their own accord.
 

lims

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ok, i see how it could be a risk, except, my pond is in a city garden surrounded by miles of roads and concrete, newts would never have found there way into my little oasis withought help, maybe i should have got them more locally tho... hopefully all will be well
 

Mark

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It's been posted on a CD which should contain data for all naturalized/alien animals. We'll have to wait a few more days :rolleyes:
 

Mark

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See attached list of non-native herps. For those who don't have MS Word the list is:

Alytes obstetricans Midwife Toad
Bombina variegata Yellow-bellied Toad
Hyla arborea Common Tree Frog
Rana catesbeiana American bullfrog
Rana esculenta Edible Frog
Rana lessonae Pool Frog
Rana ridibunda Marsh Frog
Triturus alpestris Alpine Newt
Xenopus laevis African Clawed Toad
Lacerta viridis Green Lizard
Natrix tessalata Dice Snake
Podarcis muralis Wall Lizard

Anyone who want's the full report on all UK alien species can email me.
 

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fabian

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Are their no non native turtles in the UK? You can see e.g. Trachemys scripta elegans in lots of ponds here in Germany.
 

Bellabelloo

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Yes there are... I have seen red eared terrapins in many ponds around the uk and I suspect I have seen some different type in a local pond I pass going to the childrens school.
 

caleb

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Not sure about the English Nature list, but the reason that red-eared terrapins are not listed in Schedule 9 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (see http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/nonnav/06.htm ), is that they're not 'established', i.e. they're not known to have bred in the wild.

The Schedule 9 list also includes Triturus carnifex (which persist in Surrey, & have interbred with T. cristatus over a small area), Emys orbicularis (apparently still sighted in the Norfolk broads from time to time), and Elaphe longissima (still breed around the zoo in Colwyn Bay, and possibly in London). I think the schedule was last updated before the discovery of breeding colonies of American bullfrogs in Kent/Sussex, and green lizards in Dorset.

Wycherley et al's 'Tracing Aliens' paper suggested (by call identification) that Rana perezi and R. bergeri are also present in the UK.

The Rana pipiens in Bristol is very interesting- I've heard rumours that these turned up at a southern university (possibly Bristol?) in the 1970s or 80s- I think they were quite commonly used as lab animals at that point, so it may just have been random escapes rather than an established colony.

There are still alpine newts in NE England- a few were found in an amphibian survey earlier this year. They were introduced (before it was made illegal) as an experiment to see if they'd survive that far north- apparently they will.

Anyone interested in the (now extinct) New Forest tree frog colony should read Charles Snell's recent article in British Wildlife- he suggests that they may be a forgotten native (like the pool frog).

Incidentally, the Herpetological Conservation Trust are currently running a campaign to monitor alien herps in the UK: http://www.alienencounters.org.uk/
 
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