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The Ecological and Evolutionary impact of cane toads in Australia - Coursework Example

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Cane Toads Bufos marinus commonly referred to as the cane toads are considered a pest in most Australian households. However, the scientific discoveries of cane toads have been challenged due to the discovery of an error made by early biologist where it was claimed that the toads could tolerate saltwater…
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The Ecological and Evolutionary impact of cane toads in Australia
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Download file to see previous pages The females are illustrated to be larger in term of size compared to their male counterparts (MobileReferences, 2009). However, there have been records to indicate the presence of outsized toads with the latest dubbed ‘toadzilla’ as it weighed 1.9 pounds and was 20.5 cm long. The male and female cane toads can be distinguished by their appearance since females have a smooth skin especially during the mating season whereas the males have a rough skin. Similarly, cane toads can be differentiated other native Australian frogs with their characteristic activity during the day in their clusters and the ability to sit upright. Adapted from http://www.feralscan.org.au/docs/Is%20it%20a%20cane%20toad%20Identifying%20toads.pdf Cane toads are found in abundant in areas defined by grasslands, woodlands, sand dune, rain forests and mangroves. The diet and feeding trends is vastly flexible since they feed on anything that they can swallow including beetles, bees, ants, termites, crickets, pet food and household scraps. In addition, smaller toads, marine snails, native frogs and small snakes form part of the cane toads’ occasional diet depending on their availability. The cane toad was first presented in Australia’s Queensland from South America in the year 1935 in an effort to regulate beetle pests of sugarcane (Langford, 2011). However, studies have indicated that cane toads failed to control the cane beetles and relied on other prey (Lindenmayer and Burgman 2005, p.180). Although about 102 can toads were first introduced in Australia, the number has grown enormously to an approximate of 1.5 billion, and it is estimated that the toads occupy over 1 million square kilometres of Australian territory (Hanson, 2013). As such, cane toads are regarded as pests in Australia owing to the nuisance associated with the species. This creates negative economic as well as social impacts to the country, which seek immediate address to control the menace. Cane toad invasion speed (km/year) in areas of suitable habitat Adapted from http://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/urban/MS.pdfs/2008(5)/Urbanetal.2008AmNat.pdf Cane toads are known for their capacity to poison humans and their pets. All the lifecycle stages of the toad are poisonous as the paratoid glands produce the poison (Cameron 2012). The toad responds to threats by turning the paratoid glands towards the intruder and spraying over a short distance a fine squirt of the poison. The poison is absorbed through the mucus membranes such as the eyes; mouth and the nose to cause immerse pain and irritation. Although no humans are reported to have died in Australia, other parts of the world have received casualties after consuming cane toad delicacies (Badger and Netherton2004, p.96). Poisoning is indicated by profuse salivation, vomiting, and shallow breathe. The poison is illustrated to act principally on the heart and death may occur due to cardiac arrest. The toads have been demonstrated to inhabit residential areas around swimming pools. This creates a disturbing scene to residents seeking to spend a warm afternoon by the pool. Moreover, the toads play host numerous parasites including roundworms and salmonella due to ingestion faeces, and can easily transmit infections in the society. Similarly, the toads are capable of transmitting diseases to native frogs and fishes (CSIRO 2003, p.2). Rotting carcases of cane toads ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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