Monday, March 20, 2006

Cane Toad Counterattack

Australians are mounting an effort to halt the spread of the toxic cane toad, an invasive species in Queensland, which has been killing native predators, including such large species as crocodiles. I'm predicting two things. First, the effort will not succeed. (I hope I'm wrong.) Second, the toads will undergo changes as a result of the extermination campaign. That is, new regimes of natural selection will filter subsequent generations of cane toads, promoting whatever characteristics they might have that make them less susceptible to being killed by humans. An example might be improved camouflage.

I have written previously on this topic here.

3/20/2006 10:26 PM

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At Tuesday, March 21, 2006 8:12:00 AM, Blogger mal said...

or they will adopt behaviours that make less annoying to humans. It will be interesting to see what happens

At Friday, March 24, 2006 11:52:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

You're right I think Mallory. Extermination efforts will be strongest where dead predators are appearing. It might be advantageous for the toads to reduce their toxicity. Better for the local population to take its losses from predators than to disappear at the hands of humans. A lower toxicity toad might be able to surreptitiously populate an area without triggering the massive human response.


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