Amphibians safeguard to fight invasive mosquitoes


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Road crossing can be a major threat to many pond-breeding amphibians that frequently encounter roads during their movement towards their breeding sites in spring. Amphibians are particularly vulnerable to road kill because they are slow-moving organisms with no behavioral adaptations to respond to cars and, typically, they need to access multiple habitats to complete their life cycles.

Many larval salamanders and tadpoles of frogs are predatory, feeding on insect larvae and other invertebrates, and can act as a controlling factor of insect populations. This can be important especially in the case of insects that are diseases vectors, such as invasive tiger mosquitoes and yellow fever mosquitoes. Therefore, developing measures to protect amphibians in seasonal pools may contribute to controlling mosquito populations, potentially minimizing disease risk to humans.

In order to mitigate the impact of road traffic on amphibians, several road crossing structures that facilitate safe passage have been developed, usually combining a system of fences guiding the animals towards tunnels beneath roadways. Other measures include road signs warning of frogs crossing and temporary road closures and the placement of barriers in correspondence of amphibians crossing points and collection by volunteers.

Picture ┬ęDemaldi