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  1. #1
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    The Notorious cane toad.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80...oad-meat-ants/

    Researchers in Australia think they have found a solution to the country’s toxic cane toad problem: make Australian meat ants eat them. Cane toads—which can grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length—were imported from South America to Queensland [in northeast Australia] in 1935 in a failed attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations. Trouble was, the toads couldn’t jump high enough to eat the beetles, which live on top of cane stalks [AP]. Since their introduction… cane toads have spread through most of tropical Australia, eating and poisoning native animals [New Scientist]. No one has been able to get their population growth under control, and past suggestions to do so by introducing exotic diseases have only raised concerns about causing as much harm as the toads have themselves.
    But a research team led by ecologist Rick Shine found that cane toads are more vulnerable to being eaten by Australia’s predatory meat ants than are native frogs, which may allow the ants to be used as a “safe” biocontrol agent that would not interfere with native frog species. Shine said the team plans to try ways of encouraging meat ants to build colonies near toad breeding ponds. One way would be to plant trees the ants favour [The Australian]. He is hopeful the strategy will work because unlike native frogs, cane toads are active during the day, when meat ants roam about scavenging for food. Toads also tend to breed in ponds that are out in the open sun, which results in their young emerging onto bare, baked mud areas, a habitat where meat ants like to forage [Sydney Morning Herald]. The toad is also more vulnerable because it lays its eggs in the dry season when water is low and there’s little protective vegetation at the pond’s edge [The Australian].
    Until its adult life, when it grows to be quite large, the toad is smaller than native amphibians, and sticks around longer when the ants attack—it takes about five seconds to move away, compared with the natives’ one second average: it doesn’t have the leg-power to leap quickly away from attacking ants. Worse, it doesn’t watch for the ant as do local species. The final kiss of death for baby Bufo [cane toads] is that its potent toxin doesn’t faze ants. The compound attacks the heart of vertebrate predators and ants, of course, are heartless [The Australian]. Meanwhile, meat ants are fierce fighters with powerful bites, and a band of the insects can easily take down a small toad.
    The study, published in Functional Ecology, coincidentally follows the weekend’s “Toad Day Out” event, a mass capture and killing of the cane toads, with many of the creatures’ corpses being turned into fertilizer for the very farmers they’ve plagued for years [AP]. But according to Shine, the Queensland event will likely reduce numbers, but only in the short term. “There’s been a tremendous community effort,” he says, but “with females laying up to 30,000 eggs in a single clutch, it’s not a long-term strategy” [New Scientist].
    The meat ant proposal is not quite shovel-ready, of course. Ecologist Ross Alford said that while the proposal is interesting, people should “try it cautiously. Ants are generalist predators, so if you increased their numbers, you may see an effect on native animals apart from frogs” [New Scientist].

    The links in the article can be accessed by clicking on the top link.

    I thought ya'all might find this story interesting.

  2. #2

    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by howdy View Post
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80...oad-meat-ants/

    Researchers in Australia think they have found a solution to the country’s toxic cane toad problem: make Australian meat ants eat them. Cane toads—which can grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length—were imported from South America to Queensland [in northeast Australia] in 1935 in a failed attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations. Trouble was, the toads couldn’t jump high enough to eat the beetles, which live on top of cane stalks [AP]. Since their introduction… cane toads have spread through most of tropical Australia, eating and poisoning native animals [New Scientist]. No one has been able to get their population growth under control, and past suggestions to do so by introducing exotic diseases have only raised concerns about causing as much harm as the toads have themselves.
    But a research team led by ecologist Rick Shine found that cane toads are more vulnerable to being eaten by Australia’s predatory meat ants than are native frogs, which may allow the ants to be used as a “safe” biocontrol agent that would not interfere with native frog species. Shine said the team plans to try ways of encouraging meat ants to build colonies near toad breeding ponds. One way would be to plant trees the ants favour [The Australian]. He is hopeful the strategy will work because unlike native frogs, cane toads are active during the day, when meat ants roam about scavenging for food. Toads also tend to breed in ponds that are out in the open sun, which results in their young emerging onto bare, baked mud areas, a habitat where meat ants like to forage [Sydney Morning Herald]. The toad is also more vulnerable because it lays its eggs in the dry season when water is low and there’s little protective vegetation at the pond’s edge [The Australian].
    Until its adult life, when it grows to be quite large, the toad is smaller than native amphibians, and sticks around longer when the ants attack—it takes about five seconds to move away, compared with the natives’ one second average: it doesn’t have the leg-power to leap quickly away from attacking ants. Worse, it doesn’t watch for the ant as do local species. The final kiss of death for baby Bufo [cane toads] is that its potent toxin doesn’t faze ants. The compound attacks the heart of vertebrate predators and ants, of course, are heartless [The Australian]. Meanwhile, meat ants are fierce fighters with powerful bites, and a band of the insects can easily take down a small toad.
    The study, published in Functional Ecology, coincidentally follows the weekend’s “Toad Day Out” event, a mass capture and killing of the cane toads, with many of the creatures’ corpses being turned into fertilizer for the very farmers they’ve plagued for years [AP]. But according to Shine, the Queensland event will likely reduce numbers, but only in the short term. “There’s been a tremendous community effort,” he says, but “with females laying up to 30,000 eggs in a single clutch, it’s not a long-term strategy” [New Scientist].
    The meat ant proposal is not quite shovel-ready, of course. Ecologist Ross Alford said that while the proposal is interesting, people should “try it cautiously. Ants are generalist predators, so if you increased their numbers, you may see an effect on native animals apart from frogs” [New Scientist].

    The links in the article can be accessed by clicking on the top link.

    I thought ya'all might find this story interesting.
    Yep I did enjoy that. Just goes to show that man in all his greatness still hasn't learned to leave nature alone. We just have to try and change it to suit our own needs and it fails every time

  3. #3
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Sounds like the Kudzu of the outback.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

    :judges:
    :madgo:
    Who's running this popcorn stand anyway? :zx11pissed:

  4. #4

    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
    Sounds like the Kudzu of the outback.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

    :judges:
    :madgo:
    I just read about that stuff, Man it sure has both advantages as well as disadvantages. Not to mention the spreading and being very hard to kill. But it doesn't seem to do well in the mountains. If it did not choke off any other plants it would be good for the dear, elk, moose and bison herds here.

  5. #5
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    good thing poison ivy and kudzu cant "MATE"!? that tag team would give mankind a run for it's MONEY!? meantime,what's for dinner dear, please say it's KUDZU again!? : :spin2:
    Last edited by lexx; 02-22-2010 at 12:30 PM.
    i do not endorse/recommend any advertising on scam.com associated with my name /posts or otherwise. thank you

  6. #6
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx View Post
    good thing poison ivy and kudzu cant "MATE"!? that tag team would give mankind a run for it's MONEY!? meantime,what's for dinner dear, please say it's KUDZU again!? : :spin2:
    What the heck is that, baked kudzu on tofu with brown gravy? E-freakin'-gads!

    :freak3:
    Who's running this popcorn stand anyway? :zx11pissed:

  7. #7
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
    What the heck is that, baked kudzu on tofu with brown gravy? E-freakin'-gads!

    :freak3:
    Eat up; if we can't poison or root out this d_mn weed, perhaps we can eat it to extinction.
    (Hey, it worked on the Wooly Mammoth and the Passenger Pigeon)
    Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

  8. #8
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr poormouth View Post
    Eat up; if we can't poison or root out this d_mn weed, perhaps we can eat it to extinction.
    (Hey, it worked on the Wooly Mammoth and the Passenger Pigeon)
    Are you saying we ATE ALL the Passenger Pigeons? :freak3:
    Ate ALL of them???
    That would have to be one serious freaking tasty ass bird to warrant a mass consumption to extinction!

    "Good gravy, have you tried this Passenger Pigeon yet? Oh man, it's the best, EVER. Give me a couple more and set my friend here up with half a dozen for starters! Man, that was some good Pigeon. What? You're all out? How can that be, there's stinking pigeons everywhere, for crying out loud!" :crazy1:

    I'm not saying we didn't likely blast them off the face of the Earth. :2gunsfiring_v1:
    But come on, we ate them all?
    Bet it tasted just like chicken and we sure as heck haven't wiped THEM out yet.:chicken:


    :judges:
    :
    Last edited by Mike!; 02-22-2010 at 07:57 PM.
    Who's running this popcorn stand anyway? :zx11pissed:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2,193

    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
    Are you saying we ATE ALL the Passenger Pigeons? :freak3:
    Ate ALL of them???
    That would have to be one serious freaking tasty ass bird to warrant a mass consumption to extinction!

    "Good gravy, have you tried this Passenger Pigeon yet? Oh man, it's the best, EVER. Give me a couple more and set my friend here up with half a dozen for starters! Man, that was some good Pigeon. What? You're all out? How can that be, there's stinking pigeons everywhere, for crying out loud!" :crazy1:

    I'm not saying we didn't likely blast them off the face of the Earth. :2gunsfiring_v1:
    But come on, we ate them all?
    Bet it tasted just like chicken and we sure as heck haven't wiped THEM out yet.:chicken:


    :judges:
    :
    ROTFL!


  10. #10
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by put it out there baby View Post
    ROTFL!

    I think that pigeon may have been in contact with the cane toads.

  11. #11
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    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by howdy View Post
    I think that pigeon may have been in contact with the cane toads.
    Pigeons that cr_p cane toad toxin?

    Now we're in the ****.
    Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

  12. #12

    Re: The Notorious cane toad.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr poormouth View Post
    Pigeons that cr_p cane toad toxin?

    Now we're in the ****.
    Better hope they don't learn to carpet bomb

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