Success of capture of toads improved by manipulating acoustic characteristics of lures

Muller, Benjamin J., and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2017) Success of capture of toads improved by manipulating acoustic characteristics of lures. Pest Management Science, 73 (11). pp. 2372-2378.

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Background: Management of invasive vertebrates is a crucial component of conservation. Trapping reproductive adults is often effective for control, and modification of traps may greatly increase their attractiveness to such individuals. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are invasive, and males use advertisement vocalisations to attract reproductive females. In amphibians, including toads, specific structural parameters of calls (e.g. dominant frequency and pulse rate) may be attractive to females. Some cane toad traps use an artificial advertisement vocalisation to attract toads. We determined whether variation of the call's parameters (volume, dominant frequency and pulse rate) could increase the capture rate of gravid females.

Results: Overall, traps equipped with loud calls (80 dB at 1 m) caught significantly more toads, and proportionally more gravid females, than traps with quiet calls (60 dB at 1 m), and traps with low dominant frequency calls caught more gravid females than traps with median frequency calls. Traps with high pulse rate calls attracted more females than traps with low pulse rate calls. Approximately 91% of the females trapped using a low frequency and high pulse rate combination call were gravid, whereas in traps using a call with population median parameters only approximately 75% of captured females were gravid.

Conclusion: Calls that indicated large-bodied males (low frequency) with high energy reserves (high pulse rate) are often attractive to female anurans and were effective lures for female toads in our study. The design of future trapping regimes should account for behavioural preferences of the target sex.

Item ID: 49928
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1526-4998
Keywords: invasive anuran; acoustic attractant; acoustic communication; trapping; Rhinella marina
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Muller, Benjamin John (2018) An examination of cane toad (Rhinella marina) behaviour: how can we use this knowledge to refine trapping regimes? PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Animal Control Technologies
Projects and Grants: ARC Linkage grant LP10020032, ARC Linkage grant LP150100675
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2017 05:48
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960405 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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