CNLM published in Herpetological Review (Olson and Titus 2022)
Preserve Manager Eric Olson and Land Steward Allison Titus recently published a scientific note in the peer-reviewed journal, Herpetological Review, documenting an observation of what appears to be a case of a shrike (Lanius sp.) preying on an American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), a prey species not previously recorded. On November 1, 2021 CNLM staff observed a deceased bullfrog that had been impaled on a razor wire security fence at a CNLM preserve near Sacramento, California in a manner consistent with how shrikes store prey items. After consulting the literature and a shrike prey researcher, it was determined this was likely the first documented observation of predation on a bullfrog by a loggerhead shrike, as the northern shrike (Lanius borealis) rarely occurs in this area. Short communications and notes in peer reviewed journals of novel or previously unobserved behaviors, prey items, habitat associations, occurrences, etc. are important to record as a means of disseminating information to the broader scientific and conservation community. CNLM stewardship staff are professional conservation biologists and have extensive experience and knowledge of the species they manage – and hence, the ability to recognize scientifically important observations. CNLM strives to share this information widely within the communities of conservation practitioners and researchers so that it can be used to further advance our understanding of these species and manage and protect them as well as possible. Recently (March 2023), another bullfrog impaled by a shrike was observed at this same location, indicating the original observation is not an isolated occurrence. Herpetological Review’s Natural History notes are an open-source repository of herpetological observations (https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/), and the Olson and Titus 2022 article may be found on page 476 in issue 53(3).