New Research Aids in the Control of Invasive Toads

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An article published in the current issue of Herpetologica studied Cane Toads in Australia, in order to help local managers control the invasive species. The researchers concluded that the highest capture rates of mature toads would occur in the late dry to early wet seasons.

Herpetologica Volume 72 Issue 4 December 2016

While this species is able to breed year-round, Australia's wet season causes an increase in breeding among the toads. This observation allowed the researchers to conclude that the highest capture rates would occur in the late dry to early wet seasons.

Herpetologica – Introduced species, or species that are not native to a specified location, are among the most dangerous threats to native biodiversity worldwide. These species can eradicate, pollute, and otherwise harm the native environment. Cane Toads are a harmful introduced species because of their ability to quickly reproduce and invade a variety of habitats.

The authors of an article published in the current issue of the journal Herpetologica set out to gather information regarding the breeding habits and reproductive functioning of Cane Toads. The researchers hoped that by performing this study, they could better help local managers in Australia control the invasive Cane Toad population.

Based on the samples that were collected, the researchers found that the sex organs of both male and female toads grew through the dry season and shrank as the reproductive season progressed. The opposite was true of their fat body mass. As the wet season drew closer, the toads’ fat body mass decreased. Perhaps the most significant observation the researchers made was the influence of climate on the toads’ breeding habits. While this species is able to breed year-round, Australia’s wet season causes an increase in breeding among the toads. This observation allowed the researchers to conclude that the highest capture rates of mature toads would occur in the late dry to early wet seasons.

According to Kiyomi Yasumiba, an author of this study, the researchers hope that, “this study shows that such biological studies should … be used broadly as an actual management (tool).” Furthermore, Yasumiba hopes that the information collected from this study provides a more efficient trapping method for Cane Toads in the future.

Full text of the article “Seasonal Reproductive Cycles of Cane Toads and Their Implications for Control,” Herpetologica, Vol. 72, No. 4, 2016, is now available at http://www.hljournals.org/doi/full/10.1655/Herpetologica-D-15-00048.1.

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About Herpetologica
Herpetologica is a quarterly journal of The Herpetologists’ League, containing original research articles on the biology of amphibians and reptiles. The journal serves herpetologists, biologists, ecologists, conservationists, researchers, and others interested in furthering knowledge of the biology of amphibians and reptiles. To learn more about the society, please visit http://www.herpetologistsleague.org.

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Brooke Winston
Allen Press
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