Document Type



Iowa herpetology, introduced amphibians, introduced reptiles


Only a few species appear as introductions into Iowa in the last 30 years. The bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, was systematically introduced along with fish stocked from hatcheries in the 1930s and this species continues to spread in northern Iowa where it poses a hazard to smaller frogs. Turtles sold as pets, primarily map turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica and G. geographica) and red-eared turtles (Trachemys scripta) continue to be found in scattered ponds, usually rural, throughout the state. The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolma) has been reported in or on the edge of most major Iowa cities even though no breeding population is known here. A pregnant Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis cerberus) found in a vacant lot in southeastern Des Moines, probably escaped from a snake breeder in the area. The continued existence of a population of salamanders native to the Pacific Northwest that at least temporally established in Davis County after a lumber train derailed there in 1923, is unknown. The spread of the plains spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) throughout the loess hills since 1944 may be an example of a natural introduction. The northern movement of the plains leopard frog (Rana blairi) and the fertilizer-stimulated growth of cattails in shallow marshes that may be impacting survival of Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingi) may be the indirect result of human modification of the environment.

Publication Date

December 2001

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





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© Copyright 2001 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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