Invasion! Cane Toads Unstoppable in Australian Heat

cane toad photo

Image credit: Sam Fraser-Smith/Flickr

Since it was introduced to Australia as a means of beetle control in 1935, the cane toad as spread out of control, devouring native species and becoming the most infamous invasive species in the world. Everything from cat food to culls, beer bounties to gassing, has been tried in the effort to control, if not eradicate, the toads.

Some previous studies suggested that, perhaps, the toad's spread would be curbed by climate change. New research, however, has shown that the opposite is more likely.Some studies have shown that animals, particularly fish and cold-blooded creatures, respond poorly to increase temperatures. As the climate warms, the demand for basic oxygen in these animals increases as the efficiency of the circulatory system decrease, resulting in oxygen starvation.

However, as Frank Seebacher, from the University of Sydney, explained:

The negative effect of high temperature does not operate in Cane Toads, meaning that toads will do very well with human induced global warming.

In fact, in laboratory tests, the circulatory system of the cane toad actually increased in efficiency as the temperatures rose, suggesting that the invader will thrive in a warmer climate.

This means, clearly, that the fight against cane toads in Australia is far from over.

Read more about invasive species:
The World's Most Lovable Invasive Species (Slideshow)
Destructive Impact of Invasive Species Measured In 57 Countries
Eating Aliens: Are Invasive Species Ethical Food?
The Iron Curtain Stopped Invasive Species

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