Cane toads a major problem in Australia

February 16, 2006

Cane toads are capable of moving nearly 1 mile in one night and that is translating into a major problem in Australia.

Scientists, writing in the journal Nature, say cane toads -- Bufo marinus -- are developing a leggier, faster-moving form that is now moving quickly across the continent.

The amphibians that can weigh more than 4 pounds were introduced to Queensland from South America in 1935, in an attempt to wipe out cane beetles, a pest that was destroying sugar crops in northeast Australia, the BBC reported.

Since then, the toads have become a major threat to indigenous animals, killing snakes, lizards, water birds and even crocodiles.

Scientists told the BBC the toads are moving at a rate five times faster than when they arrived in Australia -- covering an average of nearly 35 miles annually.

Researchers have been unable to devise a method of controlling the spread of the toads, which scientists say are causing an "ecological nightmare."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Feathers have their own scents, and predators know it

Related Stories

Fears Asian bee is Australia's next cane toad

March 2, 2011

The aggressive and invasive Asian honey bee could become as bad a pest in Australia as the cane toad, a senator warned Wednesday, adding that the insect could threaten the country's food supply.

Recommended for you

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

November 17, 2017

Nature whispers its stories in a faint molecular language, and Rice University scientist Laurence Yeung and colleagues can finally tell one of those stories this week, thanks to a one-of-a-kind instrument that allowed them ...

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

November 17, 2017

Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.