Cat food secret to killing cane toads
CAT food and meat ants are the keys to killing cane toads, scientists say.
Using cat food as bait, scientists from the University of Sydney’s School of Biological Sciences have succeeded in showing native meat ants to assist in controlling the spread of cane toads.
In March last year Professor Rick Shine and colleagues Georgia Ward-Fear and Greg Brown found encouraging evidence of the deadly effect of native meat ants on young cane toads.
Now they have further proven their thesis by luring ants to cane toads with cat food.
Professor Shine and his colleagues observed ant-toad interactions on the Adelaide River floodplain 60km east of Darwin in the Australian wet-dry tropics during last year’s dry season.
Ant densities and toad mortalities increased “more than fourfold” with the addition of cat food baits.
“We can look at an interaction that’s already happening, meat ants are already killing millions of cane toads,” Prof Shine said.
“We’re just looking to make it a bit easier for them.”
The research, funded by the Australian Research Council and published in the February edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology, reveals that meat ants can be used with low risk of collateral damage to native wildlife.
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