Declines of amphibians have been attributed to many factors including habitat degradation. The introduction of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) as a biological agent for aquatic plant control in ponds and lakes managed narrowly for human recreation has likely contributed to amphibian declines through massive plant removal and associated habitat simplification and thus degradation. This research examined the interactions among grass carp and three Midwestern aquatic plants (Jussiaea repens, Ranunculus longirostris, and R. flabellaris) that may be of value in rehabilitation of habitats needed by amphibians. The feeding preference study found that C. idella avoided eating both J. repens and R. longirostris. Ranunculus species studied to date contain a vesicant toxin called ranunculin that is released upon mastication. The study that compared the effects of R. flabellaris, J. repens and a control food administered by tube feeding to C. idella found significant lesions only in the mucosal epithelium of the individuals exposed to R. flabellaris. The avoidance by C. idella of J. repens and R. longirostris in the feeding preference study, and the significant toxicity of R. flabellaris demonstrated by the dosing study, indicate these plants warrant further examination as to their potential effectiveness in aquatic amphibian habitat rehabilitation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis