Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Invasive Procedures

Cane toads were introduced to Queensland, Australia to counter pests. Well, the best laid plans and all that right? This is not a new story: non-native species is introduced to control pesky native species, non-native species decides not to eat pesky species and instead decided rare species is more delicious, non-native species multiplies and spreads to all available space it can reach, non-native species eats everything in its path, ignorant people who introduced non-native species go "oops", country spends millions of dollars to unsuccessfully control non-native species. Of course there are as many variations on this story as there are kinds of introduced species, but, well, you get the point. After all, you've seen the documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988) haven't you? No? You're missing out; check it out. Or I suppose you can wait for the sequel: Cane Toads: The Conquest...3D!!! But I've digressed.

Here's a story sent to me by a co-worker (thanks Jeff!) which outlines some recent research which suggests that setting a can of opened cat food by a water source will attract native carnivorous ants. These ants are immune to the toxins that the toads secrete and will attack and devour baby toads on the spot. Voila! Instant toad control. Ok, so not a fix, but its a start.

This story was found at

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