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Title: Responses of Australian wading birds to a novel toxic prey type, the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina
Contributor(s): Beckmann, Christa (author)orcid ; Crossland, Michael R (author); Shine, Richard (author)
Publication Date: 2011
DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-9974-1
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Abstract: 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.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Biological Invasions, 13(12), p. 2925-2934
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-1464
Field of Research (FOR): 060809 Vertebrate Biology
060201 Behavioural Ecology
060801 Animal Behaviour
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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