Responses of Australian wading birds to a novel toxic prey type, the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina

Beckmann, Christa, Crossland, Michael R. and Shine, Richard 2011, Responses of Australian wading birds to a novel toxic prey type, the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina, Biological invasions, vol. 13, no. 12, pp. 2925-2934, doi: 10.1007/s10530-011-9974-1.

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Title Responses of Australian wading birds to a novel toxic prey type, the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina
Author(s) Beckmann, ChristaORCID iD for Beckmann, Christa
Crossland, Michael R.
Shine, Richard
Journal name Biological invasions
Volume number 13
Issue number 12
Start page 2925
End page 2934
Total pages 10
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Place of publication Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Publication date 2011-12
ISSN 1387-3547
Keyword(s) bufotoxin
bufo marinus
Summary The impact of invasive predators on native prey has attracted considerable scientific attention, whereas the reverse situation (invasive species being eaten by native predators) has been less frequently studied. Such interactions might affect invasion success; an invader that is readily consumed by native species may be less likely to flourish in its new range than one that is ignored by those taxa. Invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) in Australia have fatally poisoned many native predators (e.g., marsupials, crocodiles, lizards) that attempt to ingest the toxic anurans, but birds are more resistant to toad toxins. We quantified prey preferences of four species of wading birds (Nankeen night heron, purple swamphen, pied heron, little egret) in the wild, by offering cane toads and alternative native prey items (total of 279 trays offered, 14 different combinations of prey types). All bird species tested preferred the native prey, avoiding both tadpole and metamorph cane toads. Avoidance of toads was strong enough to reduce foraging on native prey presented in combination with the toads, suggesting that the presence of cane toads could affect predator foraging tactics, and reduce the intensity of predation on native prey species found in association with toads.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10530-011-9974-1
Field of Research 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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