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Cane toads (Bufo marinus) are large anurans (weighing up to 2 kg) that were introduced to Australia 70 years ago to control insect pests in sugar-cane fields. But the result has been disastrous because the toads are toxic and highly invasive. Here we show that the annual rate of progress of the toad invasion front has increased about fivefold since the(More)
Increasing concern about the impacts of global warming on biodiversity has stimulated extensive discussion, but methods to translate broad-scale shifts in climate into direct impacts on living animals remain simplistic. A key missing element from models of climatic change impacts on animals is the buffering influence of behavioral thermoregulation. Here, we(More)
Can sexual dimorphism evolve because of ecological differences between the sexes? Although several examples of this phenomenon are well known from studies on birds, the idea has often been dismissed as lacking general applicability. This dismissal does not stem from contradictory data so much as from the difficulties inherent in testing the hypothesis, and(More)
Understanding the mechanisms that determine an individual's sex remains a primary challenge for evolutionary biology. Chromosome-based systems (genotypic sex determination) that generate roughly equal numbers of sons and daughters accord with theory, but the adaptive significance of environmental sex determination (that is, when embryonic environmental(More)
Current approaches to modeling range advance assume that the distribution describing dispersal distances in the population (the "dispersal kernel") is a static entity. We argue here that dispersal kernels are in fact highly dynamic during periods of range advance because density effects and spatial assortment by dispersal ability ("spatial selection") drive(More)
Current paradigms may substantially underestimate the complexity of reptilian sex determination. In previous work, we have shown that the sex of a hatchling lizard (Bassiana duperreyi, Scincidae) does not depend entirely on its genes (XX versus XY sex chromosomes); instead, low nest temperatures can override genotype to produce XX as well as XY males. Our(More)
Research on live vertebrates is regulated by ethics committees, who prohibit ;excessively stressful' procedures. That judgment is based on intuition - a notoriously unreliable criterion when dealing with animals phylogenetically distant from humans. To objectively evaluate the stress imposed by research practices, we measured plasma corticosterone levels in(More)
Pregnant females modify their thermoregulatory behaviour in many species of viviparous (live-bearing) reptiles, typically maintaining higher and more stable body temperatures at this time. Such modifications often have been interpreted as adaptations to viviparity, functioning to accelerate embryonic development and/or modify phenotypic traits of(More)
The challenges posed by parasites and pathogens evoke behavioral as well as physiological responses. Such behavioral responses are poorly understood for most ectothermic species, including anuran amphibians. We quantified effects of simulated infection (via injection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) on feeding, activity, and thermoregulation of cane(More)
Sexual dimorphism is widespread in lizards, with the most consistently dimorphic traits being head size (males have larger heads) and trunk length (the distance between the front and hind legs is greater in females). These dimorphisms have generally been interpreted as follows: (1) large heads in males evolve through male-male rivalry (sexual selection);(More)