James Cook University researchers say they now know exactly what makes horny cane toads boogie. And the toad tune could help sound the death knell for the pests.
JCU’s Ben Muller placed cane toad ‘audio traps’ with differing characteristics at various sites in the Townsville region in an effort to attract reproductive female toads (those carrying eggs). A female cane toad may lay upwards of 20,000 eggs per clutch.
Ben and his team found that male cane toads did not appear to care what variation of volume, frequency and pulse rate were used, but female toads were much choosier.
“We could manipulate the proportion of females, and reproductive females, that we trapped by changing the calls used as lures.”
The scientists found that approximately 91% of the females trapped using a loud, low frequency tone with a high pulse rate were reproductive.
The research will be used by Animal Control Technologies Australia to help create a commercial trap.