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Will arthritis thwart cane toads?

The wave of pesky cane toads that is spreading across the Australian landscape with a rapacious disregard for the continent's delicate ecological balance might be slowed by a complaint familiar to anyone who travels frequently: a sore back. And one cane toad biologist is suggesting that this weakness may be the key to reining in the invasive amphibian's impact on native Australian species. University of Sydney biologist linkurl:Rick Shine;http://www.usyd.edu.au/sustainable_solutions/environment

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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The wave of pesky cane toads that is spreading across the Australian landscape with a rapacious disregard for the continent's delicate ecological balance might be slowed by a complaint familiar to anyone who travels frequently: a sore back. And one cane toad biologist is suggesting that this weakness may be the key to reining in the invasive amphibian's impact on native Australian species. University of Sydney biologist linkurl:Rick Shine;http://www.usyd.edu.au/sustainable_solutions/environment/rick_shine.shtml said in a statement today (Dec. 2) that cane toads are getting bigger and faster as they continue to fan out across Australia from Queensland across the Northern Territory; researchers estimate they can travel as far as a kilometer in a single night.
They're not just growing, Shine told linkurl:Reuters,;http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE4B11UT20081202?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews "They have different personalities, different shapes and are developing different physiologies." But they're also encountering problems in their longer spines, Shine said. Reuters quoted Shine saying that, "We are seeing toads...
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