Monday, August 31, 2015

Behavior of the Cane Toad

The Cane Toad is an interesting frog species. The Bufo Marinus.
It is native to Central and South America, but has been reintroduced in Australia and already asserted itself a million square-km of habitat. It also sports deadly poison glands (the tadpoles are esp toxic if ingested). For this reason, it has been introduced in regions for pest control (one of them being Cane Beetle, the colloquial namesake for this species).

My interest grows from coming across its mention twice in the recent week.

First, over how frogs - esp documented in Cane Toads - lure their prey by wiggling their toe. The Ranitomeya (or Poison Dart Frogs) do the same. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill does the same (toe wiggle), albeit to different ends.
Toe wiggling creates motions, vibrations that get potential prey moving.
Cane toads flutter their toes when small prey appear, and the intriguing pedal lure draws little cane toads closer to bigger cannibalistic ones, reported Mattias Hagman, now at Stockholm University in Sweden, and Rick Shine of the University of Sydney in Australia, in January.

Second, about how the introduction of B. Marinus in Australia, has forced evolution to kick in... not on the frog or its pest, but on the Green Tree Snake which thrives in the same habitat. With time, these snakes (only in this region) have developed a smaller heads, which allows controlled quantities of toad venom to enter their bodies (smaller head = smaller prey).

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