Exposure of cane toad hatchlings to older conspecifics suppresses chemosensory food tracking behaviour and increases risk of predation post-exposure

Samantha McCann*, Michael Crossland, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Attempts to control invasive species using species-specific pheromones need to incorporate an understanding of interactive effects among those pathways. The larvae of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) utilise chemical cues to repulse, attract or suppress conspecific larvae. We can exploit these effects to reduce toad abundance, but the effects of each cue may not be additive. That is, exposure to one type of cue may lessen the impact of exposure to another cue. To assess this possibility, we exposed toad larvae to combinations of cues. Tadpoles that had been exposed to the suppression cue during larval development exhibited no response to the attraction cue, resulting in lower capture rates in attractant-baited traps. Suppression, however, did not affect a tadpole's response to the alarm cue, and exposure to the alarm cue during tadpole development did not affect response to the attraction cue. Tadpoles exposed to the suppression cue were smaller than control tadpoles at 10 days post-exposure, and consequently were more vulnerable to gape-limited invertebrate predators. Our results demonstrate that the responses by toad tadpoles to chemical cues interact in important ways, and are not simply additive when combined. Control efforts need to incorporate an understanding of such interactions if we are to most effectively use chemical-communication pathways to control invasive amphibians.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0233653
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Exposure of cane toad hatchlings to older conspecifics suppresses chemosensory food tracking behaviour and increases risk of predation post-exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this