The short-term effect of cane toads on native fauna in the Gulf Country of the Northern Territory

The range of the cane toad has expanded rapidly in the Northern Territory, and there is growing concern that the species may have a detrimental effect on the native fauna. The aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the short-term effects of cane toads on populations of native fauna and, specifically, to compare the species diversity and relative abundance of native fauna before, during and after the invasion of an area by cane toads. Five major groups of fauna (wingless invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) were sampled over two years.

The study has provided little evidence that cane toads have a significant adverse effect in the short-term on the diversity and abundance of the native fauna examined. However, there was an indication that there may be a long-term indirect effect on some fauna. In the short-term the dingo (Canis familiaris) and one Order of insect (Coleoptera) were affected negatively. The possible long-term negative effect was on the small reptile fauna and particularly the small skinks. This may be an indirect effect on their food supply, because the groups affected were those that were considered neither to ingest cane toads nor to be eaten by cane toads.

Author Catling, P. C., Hertog, A., Burt, R. J., Forrester, R. I. and Wombey, J. C.
Year 1999
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 26
Number 2
Pages 161-185
Region NT