Possession of unique defensive toxins by nonindigenous species may increase the likelihood of creating evolutionary traps for native predators. We tested the hypothesis that nonindigenous, toxic Cuban Treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) have created an evolutionary trap for native, generalist snakes. Additionally, we explored the possibility that populations of snakes that co-occur with Cuban Treefrogs have responded in ways that allow them to escape potential trap dynamics. To evaluate a potential fitness cost of consuming Cuban Treefrogs, we monitored growth of 61 wild-caught Common Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) fed exclusive diets of either Cuban Treefrogs, native Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea), or native Golden Shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas). Snakes in the Cuban Treefrog diet treatment gained less than half the mass of those consuming native prey, and Cuban Treefrogs were significantly less digestible than native prey. There was no difference in the response of gartersnakes to prey scent cues of Cuban Treefrogs and Green Treefrogs. Our results indicate that Cuban Treefrogs likely represent an evolutionary trap for snakes because consumption of these frogs carries fitness costs, yet snakes fail to recognize this prey as being costly. We found no difference in growth or response to prey cues between snakes from invaded and non-invaded regions, suggesting snakes have not responded to escape trap dynamics. Interactions of native snakes and Cuban Treefrogs support the idea that introduced species with novel toxins may increase the likelihood of evolutionary trap formation.
Biological Invasions – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 6, 2017
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud