[NetBehaviour] Toxic Toads Evolving Super-Fast
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Feb 17 18:42:22 CET 2006
Toxic Toads Evolving Super-Fast
By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News.
Feb. 15, 2006 — Fat, toxic toads at the leading edge of an Australian
invasion have evolved longer legs than those behind the front lines,
The alarming discovery not only means the toads can spread more quickly
over the continent, but it raises the possibility that under the right
conditions, animal evolution can happen in just decades, not eons.
That, in turn, has major implications for animals adapting to global
warming, as well as biological pest control projects, which generally
take for granted that carefully studied animals introduced to fight off
invasive species can not evolve into something troublesome.
The inexorable, seven-decade-long expansion of cane toads from their
disastrous introduction to Queensland in 1935 has long been monitored by
Cane toads are considered a pest in Australia because they breed
quickly, poison larger native animals with their toxins, and eat large
quantities of insects, including honeybees.
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