News June 2024

Invasive African clawed frogs in crested newt habitat

The African clawed frog is an invasive non-native species that poses a direct threat to our native amphibians. Not only does this frog prey on native species, it can also be a carrier of infectious amphibian diseases. After a few sightings just across the border in northern France, we deployed eDNA research in 2020 to check whether the frog was also already present in Flanders.

This proved to be effectively the case. We found the species in the Lys where it forms the border between France and Belgium, and in the Douvebeek, which flows into it. A large number of neighbouring pools also appeared to be infected.

Meanwhile, they also reached pools in which the European protected crested newt lives. This spring, we caught 97 juvenile clawed frogs in a pool in the Eeuwenhout nature reserve. This indicates an established vital clawed frog population in higher parts of the Douvebeek Valley. It is also possible that they have already spread further in this region.

These observations confirm the eDNA detections and show that the African clawed frog is on the rise in the border region. Intervention measures for rapid and efficient control of this species are therefore imperative.

Maud Segal

Image above: Release of fish traps in a pool in the Eeuwenhout nature reserve.
Besides 42 crested newts, 97 juvenile African clawed frogs were also found here (photo INBO)


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