For decades, eastern and northern Australia could not get rid of a man-made plague: cane toads, which were introduced to the fifth continent of South America in 1935 to control pests. (Rinella Marina). They spread almost unchecked, eat so many smaller representatives of the Australian fauna, are so poisonous that few predators like the crocodile have a hard time. So far, many attempts to control the plague have failed – including creative ideas such as the one collecting sugarcane frogs on a large scale and marketing them as delicious sausages.
The ecological success of South American frogs in Oceania is so overwhelming that researchers are now investigating whether the animals learned tricks in their new home—perhaps in response to previous unsuccessful extermination attempts—or whether they would simply continue to benefit from them, conquering a niche without competition. Gina L. Devore of the University of Sydney also set out on the trail of the invaders: she and her team investigated the behavior of cane toad tadpoles. By doing this, they continued the observation that the small animals of the invasive representatives of Australia are noticeably more aggressive than their South American counterparts: in Australia, tadpoles are more common, cannibals are more common in ponds and ponds and eat other Aga tadpoles at every opportunity.
The question now was whether they were doing this because they couldn’t find any other food in Australia, so differences in habitat were to blame. Or have frogs in Australia become more aggressive in the past few decades? Is it possible that both are true? DeVore and Co tried to find out by comparing American and Australian tadpoles, which you describe in PNAS magazine.: They collected invasive frogs in Australia and native frogs in South America and conducted a total of 514 experiments in a series of experiments in which tadpoles were given a chance to eat other tadpoles. The first obvious finding: the tadpole is frequently eaten when encountered by a tadpole from Australia. And this is no coincidence, as other experiences with empty tadpole traps show: Australian agha tadpoles actively search for others in order to attack them next. On the other hand, South American tadpoles are not interested in the species.
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