Rats resistant to control

A still-ongoing study reported in BBC News and Science Daily shows that repeated control using rodenticides (such as Bromadiolone and Difenacoum) is causing the evolution of resistance in rats: up to 75% of rats in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire (UK) had built up a resistance. Besides representing a telling example of real-time evolution, these results suggest that traditional approaches to pest control may - by ignoring evolutionary processes, backfire and promote further the invasion process (as bites become food for resistant rat individuals and  rodenticides harm their predators).

Rats are the most ubiquitous invasive species on insular ecosystems, being present in almost 90% of the world's islands. At the LSE, the PhD thesis of Lucía Latorre focuses on the impact and management of "invasion complexes", groups of co-occurring invasive species that establish positive or negative inter-relations (e.g., as predator and prey - such as black rats and feral cats). We'll keep you updated of her results.