Australian researchers find solution to toad problem
Sep 20, 2011
Conservationists have hope of curbing the spread of cane toads across Australia after a scientific breakthrough has shown it is possible to trap female toads using ultraviolet lights and recordings of the male toad's call, The Telegraph reports.
Researchers led by Professor Lin Schwarzkopf of Queensland's James Cook University have found that they could attract about 50 percent female toads into traps by using a recording of the call of male cane toads, the Australian Broadcasting Company reports.
Previous trials had lights on them to attract insects which would then attract the toads, Schwarzkopf told The Telegraph, but the male calls allowed them to extent the range by seven meters. They also switched the lights to a duller UV ray that did not scare off the toads as much.
Once inside the trap, the toads are sprayed with a chemical that kills them, the news source reports.The species was introduced in Australia in the 1930s to control the sugar cane beetle, but have proven to be more of a problem than a solution. The toad's poison glands makes them toxic to animals such as crocodiles, lizards, birds and dogs that eat them, and their population has been growing rapidly.