Use of Chemical Ecology for Control of the Cane Toad?

  • R. Andrew Hayes
  • Alexis Barrett
  • Paul F. Alewood
  • Gordon C. Grigg
  • Robert J. Capon


In 1935, 101 cane toads, B. marinus, were introduced into north Queensland, Australia in an attempt to control the greyback cane beetle, Dermolepida albohirtum, a pest of sugar cane fields. The cane toad was, however, completely unable to control the beetles and itself became a successful pest. Since their arrival, cane toads have been implicated in the population declines of many native frog species and mammalian and reptilian predators. These effects are through predation, competition and the toxic secretions produced by the toad, poisoning potential predators. While the toxic nature of their secretions has been long known, only a part of the chemical complexity of the secretion has been identified to a molecular level. Our study aims to look at how diverse the chemical composition of cane toad skin secretions is, as well as its variability across life-history stages, between individuals and also whether different populations of toads may show differences in their chemistry. Beyond this, the chemical ecology of the toad, which probably includes pheromonal communication, may offer opportunities for control of this pest.


Sugar Cane Chemical Ecology Cane Toad Skin Secretion Cane Toad Invasion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Andrew Hayes
    • 1
  • Alexis Barrett
  • Paul F. Alewood
  • Gordon C. Grigg
  • Robert J. Capon
  1. 1.University of Queensland,Institute for Molecular BioscienceAustralia

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