Think you’re a survivor? You’ve got nothing on the cane toad, former native of Central and South America, now scourge of Australia. To snuff out their competition for resources, cane toad tadpoles will actually cannibalize nearby cane toad eggs. And all those eggs the tadpoles are too full to gobble up? Well, researchers recently learned that the hardy amphibians have that covered, too: cane toad tadpoles release chemicals into the water that stunt the growth of developing embryos.
Scientists already knew that cane toads communicate with pheromones and use these chemical signals to locate tasty eggs. They also wondered if the pheromones have another, more insidious, purpose. Biologists at the University of Sydney set up a simple experiment to find out. They placed cane toad eggs in 20 containers filled partially with water; in 10 of those containers, they added tadpoles and separated them from the eggs with mesh screens.
Sick of invasive snakes eating through your wiring and biting your babies? Don’t have any tylenol-doped mice to lob at them? You might be in luck, we have a few ideas of what to invasive species that insist on making pests of themselves.
Idea #1: Make Them Into Dinner
Become a part of the “invasivore” movement by ingesting some tasty lionfish (pictured) or asian carp, and by nomming on some kudzu or Japanese knotweed. One “almost serious” invasivore, Rachel Kesel, blogged on the subject and talked to The New York Times:
She said in an interview that she was studying in London when she wrote the post, which grew out of conversations about diet and ecology. “If you really want to get down on conservation you should eat weeds,” she decided. And so she blogged. She now works for the parks department of San Francisco and said she did indeed pursue the vegetable side of the diet she proposed. “I’m really looking forward to some of our spring weeds here,” she said, notably Brassica rapa, also known as field mustard or turnip mustard.
A second, meat-eating invasivore named Jackson Landers has been teaching other ecologically-minded eaters how to hunt and eat local invasive species, including feral pigs, two species of iguana, armadillos, starlings, pigeons, and resident Canada geese.
“When human beings decide that something tastes good, we can take them down pretty quickly,” he said. Our taste for passenger pigeon wiped that species out, he said. What if we developed a similar taste for starlings?
Idea #2: Make Them Into Shoes (or Other Clothes)