Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Ontogenetic shift in toxicity of invasive cane toads facilitates learned avoidance by native predators.

Abstract

The ecological impact of an invasive species depends upon many factors. Our experimental studies show that exposure to the tadpoles of cane toads (containing less toxin), Rhinella marina, induces predatory native frogs, Litoria dahlii, to avoid metamorph cane toads (containing comparatively more toxin) in subsequent encounters. The frog's ability to generalise its aversion response from tadpoles to metamorphs, coupled with the toad's strong ontogenetic variation in toxin content, which reflects its multiphasic life history, thus play critical roles in enabling native predatory frogs to survive the cane toad invasion.