Invader control: factors influencing the attraction of cane toad (Rhinella marina) larvae to adult parotoid exudate
- 10 Downloads
As invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) spread across Australia, we urgently need effective ways to reduce the impact of toads on native fauna. One potential approach is to target the chemical cues (pheromones) used by the pest species for communication. In particular, the ‘attraction cue’ relies on the strong cannibalistic response of toad tadpoles towards conspecific eggs and hatchlings. Chemicals released into the water by developing embryos can be mimicked using exudate from the parotoid (shoulder) glands of adult cane toads, and this toxin can be used to lure cane toad tadpoles into a trap without attracting native aquatic species. This method works well under controlled conditions in the laboratory, but we know very little about factors that influence the success of tadpole trapping in the field. Our extensive trapping trials showed strong responses to the attraction cue under a wide range of conditions, but with reduced trapping rates at low water temperature (particularly in Western Australian populations), for early-stage tadpoles, and if the bait is frozen prior to use. Efforts to control cane toads using toxin-baited traps should consider these factors when applying trapping protocols in the field.
KeywordsInvasive species Bufo marinus Bio-control Pheromones Trapping
We thank the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia for use of their facilities, and Melanie Elphick for help with figure preparation. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (LP150100501).
SM and MC conceived and designed the experiments. SM conducted the experiments with assistance from MC and MG. SM analysed the data, and SM and RS wrote the manuscript. All authors read, edited and approved the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. This study was conducted under the University of Sydney Animal Care and Ethics Protocol Number 2013/6033.
- Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) (2017) Climate statistics for Australian locations 1877–2017. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml. Accessed 22 Dec 2017
- Boulter S, Goodgame D, Scott-Virtue L (2006) The field results of nine months of volunteer toad busting by the Kimberley Toad Busters 300 km east of the Northern Territory/Western Australian border. In: Molloy K, Henderson W (eds) Science of Cane Toad Invasion and Control. Proceedings of the Invasive Animals CRC/CSIRO/Qld NRM&W Cane Toad Workshop, June 2006, Brisbane. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia, pp 73–82Google Scholar
- Geiger F, Bengtsson J, Berendse F, Weisser WW, Emmerson M, Morales MB, Ceryngier P, Liira J, Tscharntke T, Winqvist C, Eggers S, Bommarco R, Part T, Bretagnolle V, Plantegenest M, Clement LW, Dennis C, Palmer C, Onate JJ, Guerrero I, Hawro V, Aavik T, Thies C, Flohre A, Hanke S, Fischer C, Goedhart PW, Inchausti P (2010) Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland. Basic Appl Ecol 11(2):97–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gosner KL (1960) A simplified table for staging anuran embryos and larvae with notes on identification. Herpetologica 16:183–190Google Scholar
- Huang SP, Tu MC (2008) Cold tolerance and altitudinal distribution of Takydromus lizards in Taiwan. Zool Stud 47(4):438–444Google Scholar
- Lever C (2001) The cane toad. The history and ecology of a successful colonist. Westbury Academic and Scientific Publishing, OtleyGoogle Scholar
- Lim H, Sorensen P (2010) Making and using female sex pheromone implants which attract mature male common carp. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre Occasional ReportGoogle Scholar
- Lowe SJ, Browne M, Boudjelas S (2000) 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species. IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), Auckland, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
- Schwarzkopf L, Alford R (2006) Increasing the effectiveness of toad traps: olfactory and acoustic attractants. In: Molloy K, Henderson W (eds) Science of Cane Toad Invasion and Control. Proceedings of the Invasive Animals CRC/CSIRO/Qld NRM&W Cane Toad Workshop, June 2006, Brisbane. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia, pp 165–170Google Scholar
- Tingley R, Ward-Fear G, Schwarzkopf L, Greenlees MJ, Phillips BL, Brown GP, Clulow S, Webb J, Capon R, Sheppard A, Strive T, Tizard M, Shine R (2017) New weapons in the Toad Toolkit: a review of methods to control and mitigate the biodiversity impacts of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina). Q Rev Biol 92:123–149. https://doi.org/10.1086/692167 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- University of Queensland (2018) Cane Toad Challenge Research Project. University of Queensland. https://imb.uq.edu.au/canetoadchallenge. Accessed 16 Oct 2018