JDJCSET | Sigma Xi Poster Competition

Title

Red-imported Fire Ant Management Alters the Diet of Southern Toads

Presenter Information

Lee NeighborsFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Wildlife and Conservation Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Andrea Darracq, PhD; Dr. Kate He, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Red-imported Fire Ant Management Alters the Diet of Southern Toads

Red-imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are an invasive predator and prey found in the southeastern United States. When fire ants are present in a community, density of native ants is reduced. The Southern toad (Anaxyrus terrestris) is a common toad in the southeastern United States whose diet primarily consists of species of Formicidae, which may include red-imported fire ants. The objective of our study was to determine if southern toads consume fire ants and how management for fire ants may influence the diversity and abundance of different arthropod orders and genera of Formicidae in the diet of Southern toads. For this study, we established two treatments in eight 10 x 2.5 m enclosures. In half of the enclosures we did not treat for fire ants and in the other enclosures we used the granular insecticide, Amdro®, to reduce fire ant numbers. We placed 4 southern toads into each of these enclosures and recaptured each after one month. The gut content of each Southern toad was determined by gut flushing to assess the proportion of insect orders and Formicidae genera eaten by these individuals. Overall, six percent of A. terrestris stomach contents was composed of S. invicta. The proportion of Formicidae genera decreased when the enclosures were treated with Amdro®, possibly due to an overall decrease in ant density. This led to a toad diet that was more diverse in the treated enclosures compared to toads in the enclosures with ambient fire ant conditions.

Keywords: invasive species management, Solenopsis invicta, Anaxyrus terrestris, amphibian diets

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Red-imported Fire Ant Management Alters the Diet of Southern Toads

Red-imported Fire Ant Management Alters the Diet of Southern Toads

Red-imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are an invasive predator and prey found in the southeastern United States. When fire ants are present in a community, density of native ants is reduced. The Southern toad (Anaxyrus terrestris) is a common toad in the southeastern United States whose diet primarily consists of species of Formicidae, which may include red-imported fire ants. The objective of our study was to determine if southern toads consume fire ants and how management for fire ants may influence the diversity and abundance of different arthropod orders and genera of Formicidae in the diet of Southern toads. For this study, we established two treatments in eight 10 x 2.5 m enclosures. In half of the enclosures we did not treat for fire ants and in the other enclosures we used the granular insecticide, Amdro®, to reduce fire ant numbers. We placed 4 southern toads into each of these enclosures and recaptured each after one month. The gut content of each Southern toad was determined by gut flushing to assess the proportion of insect orders and Formicidae genera eaten by these individuals. Overall, six percent of A. terrestris stomach contents was composed of S. invicta. The proportion of Formicidae genera decreased when the enclosures were treated with Amdro®, possibly due to an overall decrease in ant density. This led to a toad diet that was more diverse in the treated enclosures compared to toads in the enclosures with ambient fire ant conditions.

Keywords: invasive species management, Solenopsis invicta, Anaxyrus terrestris, amphibian diets