The country toad and the city toad: comparing morphology of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) from rural and urban environments

Komine, Hirotaka, Yasumiba, Kiyomi, and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2022) The country toad and the city toad: comparing morphology of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) from rural and urban environments. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 137 (3). pp. 450-464.

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Urbanization is a principal driver of global biodiversity loss. Although many studies have examined the impacts of urbanization on biodiversity, we are only beginning to study urbanization as an evolutionary force. Urban environments are hotspots for invasive species, but most previous studies have focused on phenotypic changes in native species responding to urbanization. Quantifying the phenotypic responses of invasive species to urbanization may help reveal mechanisms promoting invasion. There are, however, few studies investigating the phenotypic response of invasive species to urbanization. We compared morphological traits of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) between urban and rural areas in three cities in north-eastern Australia using generalized linear mixed models. We found that the parotoid glands, which are the major anti-predator defence of toads were smaller in urban than in rural populations. The tibiofibula length of males in urban populations was longer than those in rural populations, but females showed opposite trends, suggesting potential effects of urbanization on sexual dimorphism. These results demonstrate that urbanization drives morphological changes in invasive toads, suggesting they may adapt to urban environments rapidly.

Item ID: 76014
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8312
Keywords: anti-predator strategy, invasive cane toad, invasive species, natural selection, parotoid gland, rapid morphological change, urban adaptation, urbanization
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Linnean Society of London. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2022 09:05
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 100%
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