Tradeoffs between dispersal and reproduction at an invasion front of cane toads in tropical Australia

Crystal Kelehear, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    11 Citations (Scopus)
    28 Downloads (Pure)


    Individuals at the leading edge of a biological invasion experience novel evolutionary pressures on mating systems, due to low population densities coupled with tradeoffs between reproduction and dispersal. Our dissections of >1,200 field-collected cane toads (Rhinella marina) at a site in tropical Australia reveal rapid changes in morphological and reproductive traits over a three-year period after the invaders first arrived. As predicted, individuals with dispersal-enhancing traits (longer legs, narrower heads) had reduced reproductive investment (lower gonad mass). Post-invasion, the population was increasingly dominated by individuals with less dispersive phenotypes and a higher investment into reproduction (including, increased expression of sexually dimorphic traits in males). These rapid shifts in morphology and reproductive biology emphasise the impacts of the invasion process on multiple, interlinked aspects of organismal biology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number486
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020

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    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.


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