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Not in this toad’s backyard

Native Indonesian amphibian takes on invading ants

By
7:28pm, September 7, 2010

After so many sad tales of invasive species overwhelming hapless natives, scientists have found a native toad in Indonesia that’s fighting back.

The common Sulawesi toad turns out to be a prodigious eater of ants, even aggressive invading ones, says Thomas C. Wanger of the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Adelaide in Australia. On the island of Sulawesi, the Ingerophrynus celebensis toads readily feast on yellow crazy ants, which are colonizing the island as well as other tropical locations.

Yellow crazy ants get their name from their color and their zigzag scurrying, and they have crowded out native ants and disrupted ecosystems elsewhere. The invaders meet any foe aggressively, releasing noxious chemicals during battle. The Sulawesi toads eat them nonetheless, Wanger says.

During a week of toad abundance on Sulawesi farms, tests plots hopping with toads had as little as one-third of the invasive ant populat

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