Establishment success of introduced amphibians increases in the presence of congeneric species

Reid Tingley*, Benjamin L. Phillips, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Darwin's naturalization hypothesis predicts that the success of alien invaders will decrease with increasing taxonomic similarity to the native community. Alternatively, shared traits between aliens and the native assemblage may preadapt aliens to their novel surroundings, thereby facilitating establishment (the preadaptation hypothesis). Here we examine successful and failed introductions of amphibian species across the globe and find that the probability of successful establishment is higher when congeneric species are present at introduction locations and increases with increasing congener species richness. After accounting for positive effects of congeners, residence time, and propagule pressure, we also find that invader establishment success is higher on islands than on mainland areas and is higher in areas with abiotic conditions similar to the native range. These findings represent the first example in which the preadaptation hypothesis is supported in organisms other than plants and suggest that preadaptation has played a critical role in enabling introduced species to succeed in novel environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 by University of Chicago Press. Originally published in The American Naturalist, 177(3), pp. 382-388. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • abiotic-suitability hypothesis
  • alien species
  • climate match
  • Darwin's naturalization hypothesis
  • invasive species
  • preadaptation hypothesis


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