The Yilan County Government has urged residents to report sightings of spot-legged tree frogs to its Agriculture Department as part of efforts to protect native tree frog species from the invasive species.
The spot-legged tree frog is native to India and Indochina. During the breeding season, the frog’s eggs attach to aquatic plants and can enter Taiwan via imported plants.
The invasive species was spotted last year in Yilan in a pond and an orchard in Dongshan Township’s (冬山) Linlikeng (淋漓坑) area.
Photo courtesy of Yilan County Government
The species has a strong reproductive ability, eats smaller frogs and competes with other tree frogs that are native to Taiwan for food, water and space.
As a result, the Forestry Bureau has identified the spot-legged tree frog as an invasive species that poses a threat.
Volunteers from Taiwan Amphibian Conservation last year removed the invasive species after it was discovered in the Linlikeng area, but after the breeding season, local groups estimated that more than 100 spot-legged tree frogs had appeared in the area this spring.
The volunteers and the county government this year ramped up their efforts to remove the species.
They captured 26 male and three female spot-legged tree frogs on March 15; 43 male and one female on March 28; and 37 male and three female and two egg masses on April 12.
Although the volunteer group removes spot-legged tree frogs every week, due to a lack of personnel, it is unable to pay attention to every detail, volunteer Lai Yung-hsien (賴擁憲) said.
The invasive species has no natural enemies, he added.
After adapting to Taiwan, it might affect the survival of native species, he said, adding that the group needs more volunteers.
Some of the frogs that were removed have been placed in the “Chaotic World — Invasive Species” exhibition at the Yilan Green Expo, which runs until May 13.
Yang Yi-ju (楊懿如), an associate professor at National Dong Hwa University Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies is scheduled to speak about the threat of alien tree frog species at the expo on May 12.
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