Spatial ecology of cane toads (Rhinella marina) in their native range: a radiotelemetric study from French Guiana.
Like most invasive species, cane toads have attracted less research in their native range than in invaded areas. We radio-tracked 34 free-ranging toads in French Guiana, a source region for most invasive populations, across two coastal and two rainforest sites. Coastal toads generally sheltered in pools of fresh or brackish water but nocturnally foraged on beaches, whereas rainforest toads sheltered in forested habitats, moving into open areas at night. Over five days of monitoring, native toads frequently re-used shelters and moved little between days (means = 10-63 m/site) compared to invasion-front toads from Australia (~ 250 m). Larger toads moved less between days, but displaced in more consistent directions. At night, foraging toads travelled up to 200 m before returning to shelters. Foraging distance was related to body condition at coastal sites, with toads in poorer body condition travelling farther. Rain increased the probability of coastal toads sheltering in the dry habitats where they foraged. Dispersal and rainfall were lower at coastal sites, and the strategies utilized by coastal toads to minimize water loss resembled those of invasive toads in semi-desert habitats. This global invader already exhibits a broad environmental niche and substantial behavioural flexibility within its native range.