A CSU-led research team has found two native lizards are not as naive as first thought and are able to avoid the scent of introduced predators like cats and foxes.
Associate Professor Dale Nimmo said some native animals may have evolved a general system to evade all predators, both native and introduced, contrary to findings from previous studies.
“While we don’t know if they learn how to avoid predators or if it is a behaviour inherited through their genes, we do know that they recognise the scents of foxes and feral cats as a threat, and respond in a way that would reduce their chances of being preyed on,” Professor Nimmo said.
“This is contrary to the common belief that native species in general are ‘naive’ to the scents of invasive predators. That is, they don’t recognise them as a threat.
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“This gives some hope for some native species as we seek to predict or prevent the impacts of invasive predators on Australian wildlife.”
The team’s findings are based on research into the reactions of two native lizards to chemical cues from the red fox and feral cat, as well as three native predators.
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