Aims European frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L.) is an aquatic plant originating from Europe that has emerged as an invasive species, spreading in the USA and Canada since it was first brought to North America in 1932. It can now be found in many water bodies, from small ponds and long rivers to large lakes such as Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The continuous spread of this species indicates its success as an invasive species despite legislative attempts to limit its distribution. Catling et al. (Catling PM, Miltrow G, Haber E, et al. (2003) The biology of Canadian weeds. 124. Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L. Can J Plant Sci 83:1001–16) wrote a thorough review about this invasive species in North America. Our review aims for a compilation of the most recent available data and recent studies on H. morsus-ranae L. and focuses primarily on its environmental uses, ecological impacts and management. The purpose of this review is to offer an organized and updated report on European frogbit that can be used towards future studies with the goal of eradicating this invasive species and providing insights on management of other invasive plants.
Important findings Our findings reveal that European forgbit's ecological effects on other species and the invaded environment were shown to be less harmful than previously feared. European frogbit had negative impacts on native plants and reduced dissolved oxygen concentration. However, water chemistry, phytoplankton and zooplankton communities were actually not affected by European frogbit. For fungi, bacteria and macroinvertebrates, studies have showed complex and sometimes conflicting results. We also specifically discussed the new method to control this species using shading and the more recent studies on biological control. Shading with a shade cloth has been shown to effectively remove European frogbit and had minor environmental effects. However, using biological control to combat the spread of the invasive frogbit seems not as successful as we wished.