Effects of Spatially Extensive Control of Invasive Rats on Abundance of Native Invertebrates in Mainland New Zealand Forests

Wendy RUSCOE, Peter Sweetapple, Mike Perry, Richard Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Predation on native fauna by non-native invasive mammals is widely documented, but effects of predation at the population level are rarely measured. Eradication of invasive mammals from islands has led to recovery of native biota, but the benefits of controlling invasive mammal populations in settings where eradication is not feasible are less understood. We used various combinations of aerially delivered toxic bait and control measures on the ground to reduce abundances of invasive rats (Rattus rattus) to low levels over large areas on mainland New Zealand and then monitored the abundance of invertebrates on replicated treatment sites to compare with abundances on similar nontreatment sites. We also assessed rat diet by examining stomach contents. Abundance of the rats’ most-consumed invertebrate prey item, the largebodied Auckland tree weta (Hemideina thoracica), increased 3-fold on treatment sites where we maintained rats at
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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