Between 2000-2020, more than ten new populations of the invasive American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) have been reported in the southern cone of South America. We studied the stomach contents of 126 bullfrogs from a population at an early invasion stage in Uruguay (Acegua, Cerro Largo Department). We observed a rich diet, with extensive prey volume range (1 mm3 to more than 7 000 mm(3)); the most frequent items were Hymenoptera (19.6%), Coleoptera (16.4%), Amphipoda (13.3%), Anura (8.9%) and Heteroptera (8.7%). Despite some overlap, differences were observed in volume (chi(2) = 54.6, p <0.001, d.f. = 2) and prey quantity (F = 8.1, p <0.001, d.f. = 79) between males, females, and juveniles. Juveniles showed significantly higher consumption of terrestrial prey by count (82% of their total ingestion) than adults (29% for males and 32% for females) (chi(2) = 28.5, p <0.001, d.f. = 2). Adults, especially females, showed a high frequency of cannibalism (33% of their total ingestion; chi(2) = 20.9, p <0.001, d.f. = 2). Comparing our data with other bullfrog regional studies, we found great plasticity in trophic habits and differences in the incidence of cannibalism (higher incidence in the populations of Acegua, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina). These differences could be related to local biodiversity, but also could be affected by the invasion phase. Cannibalism frequency was higher in small bullfrog populations, where it could be favoring the establishment success. This shift in foraging strategies during the invasion process had been insufficiently evaluated in amphibians. Knowing the ecological determinants for the invasion by bullfrogs can be useful to the development of management strategies.
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Laufer, G., Gobel, N., Berazategui, M., Zarucki, M., Cortizas, S., Soutullo, A., Martinez-Debat, C., de Sá, R. O. 2021. American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) diet in Uruguay compared with other regional invasive populations in Sothern South America. North-Western Journal of Zoology. North-Western Journal of Zoology 17(1): e211502.