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Sex-based differences in the use of post-fire habitats by invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina)


Kaiser, Shannon W.; Greenlees, Matthew J.; Shine, Rick (2022), Sex-based differences in the use of post-fire habitats by invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina), Dryad, Dataset,


Wildfires can modify habitat attributes, and those changes may differentially affect males versus females within a species if there is pre-existing niche divergence between the sexes. We used radio-tracking and dissections to study invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina), and performed transect counts on native frogs and cane toads 12 months after extensive fires in forests of eastern Australia. Both toads and native frogs were encountered more frequently in burned sites than in unburned sites. Most microhabitat features were similar between burned versus unburned areas, but fire had differential impacts on the ecology of male versus female toads. In burned areas females were less numerous but were larger, in better body condition, and had consumed more prey (especially, coleopterans and myriapods). The impact of fire on attributes of retreat-sites (e.g., temperature, density of vegetation cover) also differed between the sexes. More generally, intraspecific divergence in ecological traits within a species (as a function of body size as well as sex) may translate into substantial divergences in the impacts of habitat change.


Information regarding how the data was collected and processed is included in the README.txt file. Usage notes are also included in the file. 


Australian Research Council, Award: LP170100198, to R. Shine