In invasion ecology, niche width has been recognized as a crucial factor for the outcome of an invasion. A common characteristic of successful invaders seems to be a broad niche width, and their impact on native communities may increase with increasing niche size. Overall, successful invader predators are predicted to shift their niche width by broadening it from native to invaded conditions. The scarcity of ecological studies examining invasive species in their native ranges prevents researchers from knowing if the prevalence of generalist invaders represents conservatism of broad native-range niches or instead niche shifts as a result of different processes acting in the invaded areas. Here we reviewed literature on trophic niche of the predatory invader American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in both native and invaded ranges. We used statistical and graphic tools to analyse possible shifts in dietary niche width and the effect of introduced crayfish on the feeding strategy of L. catesbeianus. Globally, our results indicate that food sources used by the species differed in native and invaded sites, with a narrower trophic niche width in invaded areas. However, this pattern was disrupted by the occurrence of introduced crayfish that represents the major driver of the observed niche-width variation. Our data shed light on possible complications in interpreting and predicting patterns of biological invasions due to the interaction among species from different trophic levels that apparently disrupt general patterns that are likely bound to be idiosyncratic and complex.
Bissattini, A.M., Vignoli, L. (2017). Let’s eat out, there’s crayfish for dinner: American bullfrog niche shifts inside and outside native ranges and the effect of introduced crayfish. BIOLOGICAL INVASIONS, 19(9), 2633-2646 [10.1007/s10530-017-1473-6].