An invasive frog species in north central Florida is eating up the native population.
The Cuban tree frog migrated from south Florida to Alachua County in the last 20 years, said Steven Johnson, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at UF.
The frog can grow up to 5-inches in length, three inches more than the native green tree frog, Johnson said. Because of the size difference, the invasive frogs eats the native frogs.
Johnson said the native population would be mostly affected by the invasive species in the Gainesville area. This is because Cuban tree frogs live primarily in suburban areas due to the shelter housing provides.
The invasive frog has been found in bird houses, toilets and other bizarre areas, according to a document provided by Johnson.
The document stated that the frogs get into homes through open windows, doors and larger crevices.
Once inside, they may cause trouble by defecating or jumping at people, Johnson said. They are attracted to light and may jump out when people come home and turn on the lights.
Johnson said there is no data on whether the county’s native population has been significantly affected by the predator, but it is only rational to think that it has.
However, the global amphibian population has declined by a third, wildlife ecologist Kenneth Dodd said.
He said the loss of wetlands due to agriculture and urban development has reduced breeding grounds and living areas for frogs.
Johnson said this global decrease may not have short term effects on humans but could pose issues long term. He used a tapestry as a metaphor to describe how the loss of a species, like frogs, could affect humans.
“Each species plays a unique role,” Johnson said, “you can pull out one piece nothing would happen, another piece probably still nothing. But pull too many, and it would collapse.”