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01 July 2008

French kiss this toad, he used to be a Prince / World Year of Ugly Animals / Johnny said he worked for the railroad and had nothing to do with the Sea


Uwe der Anonymous von Wedding DE wins the pizza, we are talking Toads here.

(I couldn't get it to wiggle unless I used the Wikipedia URL, and the URL said: .Bufo.gif so this didn't really require Herr Kommissar Hans Berlach oder
C. Auguste Dupin. Klaas from Rotterdam could figure out this one.)

But not just any Toad.

This sucker is the Cane Toad, Bufo marinus. The "marinus" is a mistake, Larry the Cane Toad is entirely a land creature

~ ~ ~

... you told me you worked for the railroad
and had nothing to do with the sea
you said a lot, Johnny
all one big lie, Johnny
you cheated me blind, Johnny
from the minute we met
I hate you so, Johnny
when you stand there grinning, Johnny
take that pipe out of your mouth, you dog
Surabaya Johnny
No one's meaner than you
Surabaya Johnny
My god -- I still love you so
Surabaya Johnny
why'm I feeling so blue?
you have no heart, Johnny
and I still love you so.

Ich war jung, Gott, erst sechzehn Jahre
Du kamest von Birma herauf
Und sagtest, ich solle mit dir gehen
Du kämest für alles auf.
Ich fragte nach deiner Stellung
Du sagtest, so wahr ich hier steh
Du hättest zu tun mit der Eisenbahn
Und nichts zu tun mit der See.
Du sagtest viel, Johnny
Kein Wort war wahr, Johnny
Du hast mich betrogen, Johnny, in der ersten Stund
Ich hasse dich so, Johnny
Wie du dastehst und grinst, Johnny
Nimm die Pfeife aus dem Maul, du Hund.
Surabaya-Johnny, warum bist du so roh?
Surabaya-Johnny, mein Gott, ich liebe dich so.
Surabaya-Johnny, warum bin ich nicht froh ?
Du hast kein Herz, Johnny, und ich liebe dich so.

-- Bertolt Brecht

~ ~ ~

and the extra slice would have gone to anyone who said Central America or Mesoamerica, or thereabouts. That's where Bufo marinus is a natural part of the evolved ecosystem.

Trinidadians call them "crapeaux," the Creole / francais name for the ugly little things. Larry has several local aliases. And he looks a lot like three or four other big toads, so he's frequently mistaken for an entirely different animal.

Until you try to kiss him on the lips to transform him back into the handsome Prince he says he used to be.

He has a huge set of poison glands on his head that secrete a profoundly powerful neurotoxin, which isn't even fun to party with if you're a Toad Licker -- a brand of Party Animal just down the street from Liquified Natural Gas Huffers.

In 1935 Bufo Marinus was imported from Central America to the Carpenteria coast of Australia to feed on an insect pest that was damaging commercial sugar cane plantings.

Larry found the familiar bugs tasty, and was happy to be Australian.

But in his Central American home, Larry had evolved among a matrix of predators, who had evolved ways of eating lots of Larry's relatives without dying promptly of a poison overdose. The size of Larry's family had been kept in check, by an excruciatingly slow process of trial and error, for a million years or more.

Australia has no natural predators that can kill and eat Bufo marinus -- without dying. Bufo has been marching southwest since 1935 at a rate of about 1 kilometer per day, and reproducing without check. It is expected eventually to overrun the entire continent.

Here is one of its victims, the monstrous-looking freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) in the Northern Territory of Australia.

This, by the way, has been declared The World Year of Ugly Animals. One of the biggest problems with nature conservation is that most of the money and resources go to save animals we think are cute, beautiful, noble, gorgeous, handsome, brave, etc. All the money goes to Bambi.

Nobody wants to pay any money to save nasty-looking Toads, or poisonous snakes, or sharks, or bats, or big ugly spiders, or vultures, or centipedes.

Save the freshies! Kill the fucking cane toads!


----- Original Message -----
From: "ProMED-mail"
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 5:37 AM
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Crocodile deaths, bufotoxin - Australia: (NT)

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 27 Jun 2008
Source: New Scientist Environment [edited]

Dead freshwater crocodiles in Australia's Northern Territory were
once a rare sight. But since 2005, locals have witnessed mass
die-offs. Researchers now say the toxic and invasive cane toad (_Bufo marinus_) is to blame.

Two surveys, in 2005 and 2007, suggested that the mass croc deaths
have progressively moved inland from the mouth of Victoria River, at a
pace that matches that of the cane toad invasion. The toads secrete a
milky-white toxin from glands behind their eyes and on their backs
which is lethal to many predators.

Mike Letnic of the University of Sydney and his team say a massive 77 percent of some populations of freshwater crocodiles -- or "freshies"
-- have died since 2005.

The numbers are particularly worrying, says Letnic, because removing top predators like freshwater crocodiles (_Crocodylus johnstoni_) can boost the number of their prey and trigger a cascade of ecosystem
changes that are difficult to predict.

Pest out of control
Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in northeast Australia in
1935 to combat the cane beetle, a sugar cane pest, and have been
steadily marching westward across the continent since.

They are now considered invasive pests in their own right: they have
decimated populations of Australian monitor lizards and certain
species of snakes.

To try and understand the damage the toads are inflicting, Letnic and
his colleagues surveyed crocodiles in 4 regions of the Victoria River
in the Northern Territory.

Crocodile sightings in the Victoria River Gorge region, where the
invasion began, dropped from 156 to 49 between 2005 and 2007. The
toads moved upriver from the gorge, reaching the Longreach Lagoon
region in 2007. There, sightings dropped by 15 percent compared to

"We expected this. We first heard reports of dead freshies from
helicopter pilots flying over rivers in the Gulf of Carpentaria [east
of the Victoria River] where cane toad had invaded," says Grahame
Webb, director of Wildlife Management International in Darwin.

Wave of death
Proving a causal link between cane toads and crocodile deaths is
tricky, in part because crocs rapidly digest amphibians, so traces
are rarely found. But Letnic says the "wave of death" has moved
upstream with the toads, strongly suggesting the toads are the cause
of the dropping crocodile numbers.

Letnic's team is continuing the surveys. They say the freshies and
cane toads are often seen in close proximity to each other. This is
likely to be all the more true in dryer regions like the semi-arid
upper reaches of the Victoria River where the 2 species are forced to
share water holes, says Letnic.

If true, cane toads could pose an even greater threat to native
species as they move south into the dry interior of Australia and the
need for water brings them into close proximity.

The researchers say in the long term, the high death rate may
naturally select for crocodiles that have a higher tolerance to the
toad toxin. This has been seen to happen in some blacksnake
populations that have also been hit hard by the cane toads.

In the meantime, however, the toxin appears more lethal to younger
crocs, suggesting that the reproductive rate of the populations could
take a big plunge.

M Letnic, JK Webb, R Shine: Invasive cane toads (_Bufo marinus_)
cause mass mortality of freshwater crocodiles (_Crocodylus
johnstoni_) in tropical Australia. Biological Conservation (DOI:
10.1016/j.biocon. 2008.04.031)

[Byline: Rachel Nowak]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall

[Bufo toads produce a cardiac toxin and a neuron toxin. Dogs and cats
salivate profusely when they have encountered these amphibians.
Generally they spit the toad out but washing the mouth out may be

The freshies may be absorbing the toxin transdermally or through
ingestion. We will be interested in any follow up reports. - Mod.TG

Chytridiomycosis, a fatal fungal disease, has been reported from the
cane toad (see ProMED ref. below), but cannot be used for biological
control because it is deadly to all frog & toad species. - Mod.JW.

Additional information and photographs available at:
- freshwater crocodile

- cane toad

Australia's Northern Territory and Victoria River can be located on the map at

- CopyEd.MJ]

[see also:
Chytrid fungus, frogs: background 20001201.2096]


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