Predicting the ecological impact of cane toads (Bufo marinus) on threatened camaenid land snails in north-western Australia

David Pearson, Matthew Greenlees, Georgia Ward-Fear, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The spread of cane toads (Bufo marinus) through north-western Australia may threaten populations of endemic camaenid land snails because these snails exhibit restricted geographic distributions, low vagility and 'slow' life-histories. We conducted laboratory trials to determine whether toads would consume camaenids if they encountered them, and conducted field surveys to evaluate the likelihood of such encounters (on the basis of habitat overlap). In laboratory trials with 13 camaenid species, cane toads were more likely to consume camaenids than were two species of native frogs that we tested (Cyclorana australis, Litoria caerulea). However, field surveys suggested that many camaenids are active on vertical surfaces in limestone outcrops, and cane toads rarely venture into these habitats. Although the preferred habitats and activity patterns of camaenids thus reduce their vulnerability to cane toads, we recommend regular surveys of toad and snail numbers to monitor toad impacts. Given the restricted distributions of threatened saxicoline camaenid species in the Kimberley, localised management of grazing stock and fire is feasible to maintain vine-thicket vegetation cover and snail populations, as well as reducing open habitats favoured by toads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-540
Number of pages8
JournalWildlife Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


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