Dominica Battling Invasive Cuban Tree Frog

by: - December 27, 2019
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The Forestry and Wildlife Division says Dominica has been waging war against the invasive Cuban tree frog.

The tiny invaders were discovered on the island after Hurricane Maria and pose a threat to the local ecosystem since they are voracious eaters and are opportunistic predators.

So far over a thousand have been captured.

Manix Mondesire, Amphibian Technician at Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division says they have been eating small snakes, indigenous tree frogs and even each other.

“These frogs can lay at least 1,000 eggs per year and will eat anything that fits in their mouth; from ants to a small snake as long as it can fit in their mouth,” Mondesire says.

“These frogs also get a lot larger than our native tree frogs and base don how much and how quickly they reproduce, our ecosystem is going to feel major heat.”

The Division says the nocturnal Cuban tree frogs have so far only been found in Portsmouth and so twice a week, night time surveys are underway and a local group does the job every weeknight.

These frogs come in various colour patterns from greyish to greenish and camouflage.

The Dominican public is invited to get involved in the fight against the invasive Cuban tree frog which could completely alter the ecosystem.

Important to note is that the Cuban tree frog is poisonous to humans.

“If you come into contact with these frogs, first get frogs or a plastic bag for your hands, quickly capture the frog, secure it, wash your hands after because this frog’s skin emits a toxin that causes the skin to itch and it aggravates asthma as well,” Mondesire cautions.

“Contact Forestry [Division] and we will come to survey the area to determine whether there are more frogs or tadpoles.”

The division says native frogs, snakes, lizards, spiders and insects are at great risk of extinction.

The Cuban tree frog can also spread chytridiomycosis, the disease which almost eradicated the Mountain Chicken of which fewer than a hundred are left in the wild.

They could also bring new diseases as yet unidentified.