Toxic toad infiltrates Madagascar

Asian common toads appear to be invading Madagascar, posing an ecological risk to the island's wildlife, scientists argue.

Thomas Brown/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Asian common toads may have hopped a ride to Madagascar and could pose an ecological risk to the island’s native species. The first sighting of the Duttaphrynus melanostictus toad on the island off Africa’s southeastern coastline was on March 26, and since then more have been found. The toad is a relative of the cane toad Rhinella marina, which has caused damage to wildlife and ecosystems in Australia and elsewhere. The Asian common toad toxins could do similar damage to Madagascar’s top predators, and its invasion could disrupt the food web on the island, Jonathan Kolby of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, warns in the May 29 Nature.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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