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Be vigilant for black warty pest toad

Residents in Cloverdale and surrounding suburbs are urged to look out for unusual toads with raised black pimple-like warts after a live animal was recently discovered in a local resident’s yard.

The priority declared pest, Asian black-spined toad, was recently discovered in suburban Cloverdale, sparking collaborative surveillance activities and a call for residents to look out for the pest.

The animal was confirmed to be an Asian black-spined toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), a priority declared pest in Australia.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Invasive Species manager Richard Watkins said Asian black-spined toads posed a major threat to Western Australia’s environment and biodiversity, particularly native species.

“Asian black-spined toads are native to Asia and have the potential to establish in Australia,” Mr Watkins said.

“It is important that we determine whether there are more toads in the area and if so, locate them and prevent the species from establishing and potentially spreading.”

Mr Watkins said officers from DPIRD and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions were collaborating on local surveillance.

“We’re asking for the assistance of people in the Cloverdale area, and anyone who has recently returned or received deliveries from Asia, to look out for and report sightings of unusual toads for identification,” he said.

“In the past, individual Asian black-spined toads have been intercepted at Australian airports and seaports, mainly on international vessels, shipping containers and machinery, as well as returning travellers’ personal belongings and clothing.”

Asian black-spined toads are closely related to the cane toad. They excrete a poisonous substance that may affect pets if ingested. The toad’s skin secretions may cause itching in the nose and eyes when handled by humans.

They are prolific breeders and compete with native toads and frogs for food and habitat, as well as eating their eggs and tadpoles. They can also carry exotic parasites and diseases.

They are described as stocky, about 9 to 15 centimetres in size, with a relatively small head and short hind limbs. The head has elevated bony ridges and black crests that border the top and sides of the eyes to a prominent parotid gland.

Colour varies from grey to red-brown to almost black. The toad’s back is covered with various sized black warts capped with tiny dark spines.

Report all suspected sightings of Asian black-spined toads via phone hotline 0400 693 807, or use the MyPestGuide Reporter app or MyPestGuide Report Online and choose the ‘ABST survey’ option.

Photos and a description of where and when the animal was sighted are vital.