Impacts of artificial light on food intake in invasive toads

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 16;10(1):6527. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63503-9.


Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a major form of anthropogenic disturbance. ALAN attracts nocturnal invertebrates, which are a food source for nocturnal predators, including invasive species. Few studies quantify the effects of increased food availablity by ALAN on invasive vertebrate predators, and enhancement of food intake caused by ALAN may also be influenced by various environmental factors, such as proximitity to cities, moon phase, temperature, rainfall and wind speed. Revealing the potential impacts on invasive predators of ALAN-attracted invertebrates, and the influence of other factors on these effects, could provide important insights for the management of these predators. We constructed and supplied with artificial light field enclosures for invasive toads, and placed them at locations with different levels of ambient light pollution, in northeastern Australia. In addition, we determined the effect of rainfall, temperature, wind speed, and lunar phase on food intake in toads. We found that ALAN greatly increased the mass of gut contents of invasive toads compared to controls, but that the effect was increased in dark lunar phases, and when there were low ambient light pollution levels. Effects of rainfall, temperature and wind speed on food intake were comparatively weak. To avoid providing food resources to toads, management of ALAN in rural areas, and during dark lunar phases may be advisable. On the contrary, to effectively capture toads, trapping using lights as lures at such times and places should be more successful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / physiology*
  • Australia
  • Eating / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Introduced Species
  • Light / adverse effects*