Daring animals hitchhike to colonise new landsOctober 24th, 2011 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Oct 24 (IANS) Hitchhiking, believed to be the preserve of poets and wanderers, is also an activity undertaken by daring animals to explore and colonise new lands.
David Chapple, Bob Wong and Sarah Simmonds from Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences, have conducted a couple of complementary studies on invasive species.
“Not only do animals need to be in the right place at the right time in order to be inadvertently transported by humans, but they also need to be able to survive the often harsh and lengthy journey inside consignments of freight,” said Chapple, according to the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
“When they arrive at the new destination, the stowaways have to contend with being strangers in a strange land and successfully adapt to new environments. In the face of these challenges, the new colonists must also thrive and reproduce before spreading out across the landscape,” he added, according to a Monash statement.
Wong said it was the ability to overcome these significant hurdles that makes successful invaders a formidable threat to native wildlife.
“The incidence and impact of unintentional invasion is increasing with globalisation - as we encroach further and further into the natural environment, animals have had more opportunities to jump on board our various transports.
“Given this increase, and the potential impact on biodiversity, it’s important that we understand this phenomenon better.
“Personality and behavioural traits are an important and, to date, unexplored component of the success of these species’ invasions,” Wong concluded.
Simmonds said the researchers examined whether personality differences between two species of garden skinks in eastern Australia could explain why one of the species has managed to spread overseas and the other has not.
“Our research found that the successful skink invader was bolder and tended to be more exploratory, thereby increasing its chances of entering cargo ships.
“Once on board, the lizards’ tendency to hide probably helps them evade biosecurity checks and reach their destination undetected,” Simmonds said.
- Invasive alien species threaten Pacific region, says study - Feb 19, 2010
- Catching killer weeds easier with geographic profiling - Feb 12, 2012
- UAE warns against selling diseased animals - Feb 12, 2011
- Mountain plants unable to withstand invasion by exotic species - Jan 22, 2010
- 24 newly discovered lizard species face extinction - Apr 30, 2012
- Obese targeted at workplace - Sep 27, 2011
- Abandoned female fish raise offspring as single moms - Sep 21, 2010
- Snails rode over birds to cross continents? - Sep 15, 2011
- 'Rising CO2 levels threaten aquatic food webs' - May 08, 2012
- Exotic cactus species found in Cuba - Jun 04, 2012
- Reduced sea ice, warming elevate Arctic temperatures - Jul 08, 2012
- Biological invasions 'may be more damaging than natural disasters' - Apr 03, 2011
- How cholera bug invades the gut - Jan 29, 2012
- Scientists reveal how superbug turns killer - Oct 17, 2011
- Bees help flowers grow same hues across oceans - Jun 08, 2012
Tags: behavioural traits, complementary studies, consignments, david chapple, eastern australia, ecology and evolution, garden skinks, hitchhiking, invasive species, lengthy journey, monash university, native wildlife, personality differences, right place at the right time, simmonds, skink, skinks, species invasions, stowaways, strangers in a strange land