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PLOS ONE  2009 

Aquaculture Enclosures Relate to the Establishment of Feral Populations of Introduced Species

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006199

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Abstract:

Many species introduced by humans for social and economic benefits have invaded new ranges by escaping from captivity. Such invasive species can negatively affect biodiversity and economies. Understanding the factors that relate to the establishment of feral populations of introduced species is therefore of great importance for managing introduced species. The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is one species that has escaped from farms, and it is now found in the wild in China. In this study, we examined influences of two types of bullfrog farm (termed simple and elaborate farm enclosures) on the establishment of feral populations of this species in 137 water bodies in 66 plots in four provinces of China. The likelihood of establishment of bullfrog populations in water bodies in plots with simple enclosures (49/89 = 55.1%) was higher than those with elaborate enclosures (3/48 = 6.3%). Based on the Akaike Information Criterion, the minimum adequate model of generalized linear mixed models with a binomial error structure and a logit link function showed that the establishment or failure of bullfrog populations in water bodies was positively correlated with the presence of a simple enclosure, the number of bullfrogs raised and the presence of permanent water in a plot, but negatively correlated with distance from a bullfrog farm and the occurrence of frequent hunting. Results therefore suggest that a simple farm enclosure can increase the establishment of feral bullfrog populations compared with an elaborate enclosure. Our findings are the first to quantify the importance of improving farming enclosures to control and minimize the risk from introduced species.

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