March 30, 2009

Killer ants taking on killer toads in Australia

Per New Scientist: Scientists say that Australian meat ants might be the biocontrol agent that could help with the massive cane toad population that is a current problem in Australia.

Cane toads were originally introduced into Australia to eat pests in sugar cane fields, per the article. The cane toad flourished, reproducing rapidly all over Australia. The poison these toads produce makes it harder to control populations.

Scientists say that meat ants eat cane toad young and could be useful in cane toad population control if the ants can be controlled themselves.

The Twitterverse had plenty to say on this radical solution:

davidscottkane: (Melbourne, Austrialia) Proof you shouldn't cross an Aussie. See next tweet, 1000's of imported Cane Toads meet their maker.

webmink: (South Hampton, UK) Killing invasive cane toads with invasive killer ants? What could possibly go wrong?

eranbl: (Be'er Sheva, Israel) It appears that the guys down under really hate Cane Toads, and I mean Really.

meika: (Tasmania) cane toads are far more susceptible to being killed and eaten by meat ants than native frogs GOOD NEWS

Aussie Tweeters even had a say about the cane toad problem:

blague: (Melbourne, Australia) At pub at Burketown, Queensland. So many cane toads, you step on them with each step unless you go out of your way to avoid them.

cammy_wammy: (Darwin, Australia) Woo! Dad - 4, Cane Toads - 0

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