A preliminary assessment of the response of a native reptile assemblage to spot-spraying invasive Bitou Bush with glyphosate herbicide.
During recent work examining the effects of Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata) invasion on native reptile assemblages in coastal heathland vegetation in Eastern Australia, unplanned spot-spraying of glyphosate occurred at some of our experimental sites invaded by Bitou Bush. We used this unexpected herbicide application as an opportunity to provide a preliminary assessment of the short-term impacts on reptiles of glyphosate spot-spraying of Bitou Bush. Using an M-BARCI design, we compared reptile assemblages among uninvaded (reference) sites, invaded (control) sites and invaded and sprayed (impact) sites before and after spraying. We found no significant short-term (7-10 months) differences in reptile abundance, species richness or assemblage composition among invaded, uninvaded and sprayed sites before and after glyphosate application. We cautiously interpret our results to generate a preliminary finding that spot-spraying of Bitou Bush with glyphosate appears not to have a deleterious effect on reptile assemblages at seven and ten months following herbicide application. While we would not recommend basing management decisions on the outcomes of our study alone, we suggest that our findings can be used to assist in the development of strategic analyses of glyphosate impacts on native flora and fauna.