April 2021 - 25

also have been hit hard by the chytrid fungus. But
the two primary populations, one southern and one
northern, have fared differently.
" The southern population has seen some severe
losses but the toads in the northwestern part of the
state are faring much better. They don't seem to be
as susceptible, " Estes-Zumpf said.
Another growing threat to frogs, and a lesser
extent toads, in the state happens to be a member
of their own kind. American bullfrogs, with their
relatively massive size and voracious appetite, prey
on other frogs. Native to the eastern United States,
American bullfrogs have been transplanted to other
parts of the country and to at least 15 other nations,
often with devastating results. Bullfrogs brought to
California to feed miners in the late 19th century
have colonized much of the state. They are directly
or indirectly responsible for the extinction of some
100 species of other frogs worldwide.
" We just finished a project studying the status and
distribution of nonnative bullfrogs in Wyoming, "
Estes-Zumpf reported. " They are not widespread,
yet. "
Bullfrogs have probably been established in the
North Platte drainage for decades. They were discovered more recently in the Sheridan area.
" The area around Sheridan is just mild enough
for them to persist. We documented a single bullfrog
there in 2018 but in 2019 found them quite widespread with more research. They've actually been
there for some time, " Estes-Zumpf said.
Bullfrogs, a heavyweight among frog species, are
bad news to native amphibians. " They're voracious
predators that directly prey on other amphibians, "
Estes-Zumpf said. " They also produce huge amounts
of young that can outcompete native tadpoles for
algae as they develop. Not only that, but they also
create their own food source as bullfrogs are very
cannibalistic. "
The predatory efficiency of bullfrogs is notorious
among biologists. The species is only gape-limited, a
fancy way of saying bullfrogs will eat anything that
fits in their mouth. Although Wyoming's winters and
high elevations prevent bullfrogs from inhabiting
many areas of the state, biologists are concerned about
how they will impact native amphibians.
Frog or toad, Wyomingites and visitors to the
state can help with their conservation. " These are
under-studied species, " Estes-Zumpf declared. " We
just lack data on many of them because we don't
have many records. People can really help by sending
Game and Fish photos of frogs and toads that record
their location and observation date. "
That princess who kissed the frog, or was it a toad?
Her action might make for a romantic fairy tale but
not good biology. Conservationists agree that frogs

The western (boreal) toad has a distinct, white dorsal stripe. Tadpoles of this toad hatched below 10,000 feet
metamorphose during their first summer. Those above 10,000 feet may fail to transform or survive through the winter.
(Photo by Katrina Cook)

The American bullfrog is a voracious predator that can outcompete many native frogs for food. Anyone who sees a
bullfrog outside its native range in Wyoming is asked to report the sighting to Game and Fish. (Adobe Stock Photo)

and toads should be left alone because handling by
humans can be harmful to their skin. But if you're
really a believer in amphibian magic, it's probably
okay to blow a kiss.
- Jack Ballard is the author of hundreds of articles on hunting
and wildlife. See more of his work at JackBallard.com.

		

Wyoming Wildlife | 25


http://www.JackBallard.com

April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2021

April 2021 - 1
April 2021 - 2
April 2021 - 3
April 2021 - 4
April 2021 - 5
April 2021 - 6
April 2021 - 7
April 2021 - 8
April 2021 - 9
April 2021 - 10
April 2021 - 11
April 2021 - 12
April 2021 - 13
April 2021 - 14
April 2021 - 15
April 2021 - 16
April 2021 - 17
April 2021 - 18
April 2021 - 19
April 2021 - 20
April 2021 - 21
April 2021 - 22
April 2021 - 23
April 2021 - 24
April 2021 - 25
April 2021 - 26
April 2021 - 27
April 2021 - 28
April 2021 - 29
April 2021 - 30
April 2021 - 31
April 2021 - 32
April 2021 - 33
April 2021 - 34
April 2021 - 35
April 2021 - 36
April 2021 - 37
April 2021 - 38
April 2021 - 39
April 2021 - 40
April 2021 - 41
April 2021 - 42
April 2021 - 43
April 2021 - 44
April 2021 - 45
April 2021 - 46
April 2021 - 47
April 2021 - 48
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/September2020
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com