THE ASIAN COMMON TOAD IN MADAGASCAR, OUT OF CONTROL

A silent invasion is underway in Madagascar since some time. This is due to the worrying presence of the Asian common toad Duttaphrynus melanostictus, arrived on the large African  island presumably in 2008. Most likely in containers from South East Asia used by the company Ambatovy, which deals with the extraction of Nickel and Cobalt (although this responsibility was always denied by them). Its distribution area is currently around Toamasina (Tamatave), the second largest city in Madagascar and its most important commercial port (information are available in Moore et al. (2015). An interesting article on The Guardian was recently published (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/24/madagascar-toxic-toads-lemurs-ecology-threat?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other) and gives some light on this problem. The fact is that this toad species is toxic, totally alien to the habitats and ecosystems of Madagascar and can cause the death of a considerable number of amphibian predators, totally unaware of its dangerousness.

An individual of Duttaphrynus melanostictus photographed around Toamasina

Beyond that, its rapid expansion and high reproductive rate pose together serious doubts about the possibility of control. It is estimated that there are currently at least 21 million of individuals on the territory, a number that makes any eradication work almost impossible. At present, then, no national control or prevention committee is active. In a country with very serious economic problems and a “daily income” of less than $ 2 per person it is evident that the control of an alien toad is not perceived as an urgent and treatable priority. Too bad that the greatest richness of the country is represented by its biodiversity and this toad can potentially put it at risk.

 

 

 

http://www.nationalgeographic.it/natura/animali/2016/05/27/foto/rospo_invasivo_madagascar-3103886/4/#media

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