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Thread: AUS Press: Toad of trouble caught at Cairns airport

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    Default AUS Press: Toad of trouble caught at Cairns airport

    CAIRNS POST (Australia) 16 December 09 Toad of trouble caught at Cairns airport (Daniel Bateman)
    An ecological disaster has been narrowly averted after a toad which has the potential to be more damaging than the cane toad was recently caught at Cairns airport.
    A juvenile black-spined toad (Bufo melanostictus) was spotted by keen-eyed Hawker Pacific ground crew at the international airport, hidden inside timber packaging while they were unloading empty gas cylinders on board a flight from West Papua.
    Inspecting the cargo, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service officers also found an entire colony of black crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis), hitching a ride on the same gas cylinders.
    The black-spined toad, while not as venomous as the cane toad, has the ability to adapt to far colder climates than the cane toad, making it as formidable a pest.
    Like the cane toad, the black-spined toad is a carnivore and competes with native frogs and toads for food and habitats.
    It also has the potential to carry exotic parasites and diseases.
    AQIS northern region scientific manager James Walker said the toad, which was caught on September 7, had the potential to spread further than the cane toad throughout the continent.
    About 20 black-spined toads have been located at air and shipping ports across the country during the past decade.
    The ants that were discovered in the Indonesian cargo were an invasive species that has long been established in Australia.
    AQIS entomologist Michael Gorton said it was uncommon to have an entire colony accidentally transported in air freight.
    Mr Gorton said it showed how easy it was for ant pests to find their way to Australiaís borders.
    "Sometimes youíll find the odd ant in cargo, but you donít get the whole colony," Mr Gorton said.
    Toad of trouble caught at Cairns airport- Local Cairns News | cairns.com.au

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