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Invasive poisonous toads are killing Madagascar’s native snakes

There is evidence of a significant death rate among Malagasy snakes that attempt to eat the poisonous Asian common toad

Life 16 February 2022

An Asian common toad photographed in Madagascar

An Asian common toad in Madagascar

Fulvio Licata

Fears about the impact of invasive, poisonous toads in Madagascar appear to be justified, suggests new research. The amphibians are driving a spike in deaths of a native snake species.

Asian common toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) are native to southern Asia, but were introduced to eastern Madagascar around 2010, probably as stowaways on a ship. Since then, the toads have been spreading from the point of arrival by about 2.5 kilometres per year, prompting anxiety among researchers that they could threaten Madagascar’s native wildlife just …