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Frogs have developed rapid defences against the red swamp crayfish
Date:7/9/2014

fish had deeper tails and bigger body volumes than the rest.

The researcher emphasises that "these two responses would allow them on the one hand to direct the attacks of the predator to less vulnerable areas of their body like the tail fin and, at the same time, maintain a larger digestive area to counteract the potential negative effects of lowered activity".

This indicates that the presence of exotic predators can induce a rapid process of evolutionary change in invaded ecosystems. Until recently, it was considered that such evolutionary processes would only happen through slow accumulation of changes over exceptionally long periods of time.

Lastly, not all amphibians behave in the same way. Recent research reveals that various endemic species to the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Iberian Parsley Frog (Pelodytes ibericus), are incapable of responding to the presence of the red swamp crayfish, which increases its risk of extinction.

"Better knowledge of the magnitude and time scale of the evolutionary changes is the key to properly understanding the biological processes and for correct development of efficient conservation measures," concludes Orizaola.


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