The surprising survival strategy of certain toads in a hostile environment

Human activities often threaten the survival of wildlife, especially amphibians and toads. To understand how these animals adapt when their living space is invaded by humans, researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) conducted an unprecedented study, report France info, Tuesday, September 20.

The Harlequin Toad clings to the female for 5 months for the chance to mate

Seven-year life expectancy

For twenty-five years, 60 scientists from 7 European countries have followed 21,000 yellow-bellied toads. This species, called “yellow-bellied ringer” and attributed to a 5 cm fine, is characterized by unique and personal black spots on the yellow belly and is therefore more easily spotted.

This study thus reveals that to save their species, these toads accelerate their life cycle. This amphibian species grows and ages faster in hostile environments. In areas inhabited by man, this yellow-bellied toad thus lives on average seven years instead of twelve. It also reproduces earlier and more importantly, specify our colleagues.

In Australia, the cane toad has cannibalistic tendencies and devours its tadpoles

A rare and threatened survival mechanism

This phenomenon is called “compensatory recruitment” and is 93% higher in areas colonized by humans than in natural habitats. This mechanism of survival, rarely observed, had until now only been noticed in animals in the event of particularly serious illnesses. It is therefore the first time that it has been reported in an animal species in response to human presence.

But if this strategy allows the populations of toads to be maintained, it does however expend a lot of energy and this weakens the species in the face of one or more diseases. Because of global warming, this mechanism thus seems threatened… The scientists also point out that 45% of the toad populations observed are now in decline throughout Europe.

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