Ability of predatory native Australian fishes to learn to avoid toxic larvae of the introduced toad Bufo marinus

Crossland, M.R. (2001) Ability of predatory native Australian fishes to learn to avoid toxic larvae of the introduced toad Bufo marinus. Journal of Fish Biology, 59 (2). pp. 319-329.

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Abstract

Of two native Australian fishes naïve to the introduced toad Bufo marinus most barramundi Lates calcarifer rapidly learned to avoid B. marinus tadpoles, while sooty grunter Hephaestus fuliginosus exhibited considerable intraspecific variation in their learning ability. Some sooty grunter learned to avoid tadpoles after only a few attacks, while other individuals continued to attack and reject tadpoles throughout the entire laboratory trials. Individuals of both species recognized and avoided tadpoles 1 day after their previous encounter. None of the fishes died during the trials. The observed variation in behavioural responses of fishes to B. marinus may be due to differences in (1) learning ability, (2) fish hunger levels, and or (3) tadpole palatability and toxicity. The results demonstrate that most barramundi and sooty grunter learn to avoid B. marinus tadpoles with minimal trauma. Consequently, it is anticipated that the toads are unlikely to have a significant negative impact on wild populations of these fishes through direct toxic effects.

Item ID: 13260
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: avoidance; introduced species; learning; toxicity; unpalatability
ISSN: 1095-8649
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2012 02:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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