191 pages, Bw photos, figs, tabs, maps
Florida has become a melting pot of invasive exotic species, especially those introduced from the Caribbean. Their expanding ranges and their impact on other species underscore a growing ecological problem faced in today's world of massive land-use changes and rapid transportation on a global scale. In one of the most detailed accounts of the ecology of an introduced species in the United States, Walter Meshaka presents the natural history of the Cuban Treefrog from the perspective of its phenomenal success, in terms of sheer numbers and geographic range, as a colonizer in South Florida and, in particular, the Everglades. For those interested in the natural history of the state and especially for herpetologists, ecologists, conservation biologists, and land managers, this work provides a readable and data-rich study on a timely issue. Meshaka discusses all facets of the natural history of the Cuban Treefrog in detail as well as the correlates of its successful colonization - for example, it colonized an environment that was nearly competitor-free, it ate its potential competitors, and it exploited human habitats. In light of Meshaka's findings, any hope of eradicating the Cuban Treefrog looks dim. The usefulness of this book extends well beyond mere description of the natural history of a single species. It supplies a methodology for evaluating and setting priorities for the threats facing Florida's amphibian and reptile populations and identifies the most vulnerable species, providing a base for management decisions. It also presents and interprets a large data set associated with patterns of colonization and predictions.
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