Toad-kill: Prey diversity and preference of invasive guttural toads (Sclerophrys gutturalis) in Mauritius
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The invertebrate communities of Mauritius host a high degree of endemism, but are also imperilled by an array of factors, including invasive predators. Since their introduction in 1922, guttural toads (Sclerophrys gutturalis) have spread across the island and have been implicated in the decline of a number of endemic invertebrate species. In this study, we examined the feeding habits of the invasive population of guttural toads from three naturally forested locations in Mauritius across multiple years by analysing their stomach content. We also measured the relative abundance of prey items on the landscape using pitfall traps and applied these data to determine prey preference using a Relativised Electivity Index. Insects, malacostracans and gastropods constituted the bulk of the toads' diet (48.7%, 33.4% and 11.8%, respectively), which also included several rare and endemic species. We further determined that insects and malacostracans were also the two most favoured prey taxa, relative to what was available on the landscape. Our investigation has generated several recommendations for future research and provides a fundamental understanding of the diet of guttural toads in the native forests of Mauritius.
- RESEARCH: Measey, J