Toads phenotypically adjust their chemical defences to anthropogenic habitat change

V. Bókony, Bálint Üveges, Viktória Verebélyi, Nikolett Ujhegyi, A. Móricz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the well-documented effects of human-induced environmental changes on the morphology, physiology, behaviour and life history of wild animals, next to nothing is known about how anthropogenic habitats influence anti-predatory chemical defence, a crucial fitness component of many species. We investigated the amount and composition of defensive toxins in adult common toads (Bufo bufo) captured in natural, agricultural and urban habitats, and in their offspring raised in a common-garden experiment. We found that, compared to toads captured from natural habitats, adults from both types of anthropogenic habitats had larger toxin glands (parotoids) and their toxin secretion contained higher concentrations of bufagenins, the more potent class of bufadienolide toxins. Furthermore, urban toads had lower concentrations of bufotoxins, the compounds with lower toxicity. None of these differences were present in the captive-raised juveniles; instead, toadlets originating from agricultural habitats had smaller parotoids and lower bufotoxin concentrations. These results suggest that toads’ chemical defences respond to the challenges of anthropogenic environments via phenotypic plasticity. These responses may constitute non-adaptive consequences of pollution by endocrine-disrupting chemicals as well as adaptive adjustments to the altered predator assemblages of urban and agricultural habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3163
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

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Anura
Ecosystem
Bufo bufo
Social Adjustment
Endocrine Disruptors
Wild Animals
bufotoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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Toads phenotypically adjust their chemical defences to anthropogenic habitat change. / Bókony, V.; Üveges, Bálint; Verebélyi, Viktória; Ujhegyi, Nikolett; Móricz, A.

In: Scientific reports, Vol. 9, No. 1, 3163, 01.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bókony, V. ; Üveges, Bálint ; Verebélyi, Viktória ; Ujhegyi, Nikolett ; Móricz, A. / Toads phenotypically adjust their chemical defences to anthropogenic habitat change. In: Scientific reports. 2019 ; Vol. 9, No. 1.
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