Date of this Version
Pender, R.J., A.B. Shiels, L. Bialic-Murphy, and S.M. Mosher. 2013. Large-scale rodent control reduces pre- and post-dispersal seed predation of the endangered Hawaiian lobeliad, Cyanea superba subsp. superba (Campanulaceae). Biological Invasions 15:213-223. doi: 10.1007/s10530-012-0280-3.
Large-scale rodent control can help to manage endangered species that are vulnerable to invasive rodent consumption. A 26 ha rodent snap-trap grid was installed in montane forest on Oahu Island, Hawaii, in order to protect endangered snails and plants. To assess the effectiveness of this trapping operation in reducing fruit consumption and seed predation of the endangered Hawaiian lobeliad, Cyanea superba subsp. superba, pre- and post-dispersal C. superba fruit consumption were monitored for 36 plants at the site with rodent control (Kahanahaiki) and 42 plants at an adjacent site without rodent control (Pahole).Over 47 % of all monitored fruit were eaten on the plants at Pahole compared to 4 %at Kahanahaiki. Images captured using motion-sensing cameras suggest that black rats (Rattus rattus) were the only pre-dispersal fruit consumers. To quantify post-dispersal fruit consumption, and to identify the culprit frugivore(s), mature fruit were placed in tracking tunnels positioned on the forest floor and checked daily. At Pahole, all of the fruit were consumed by rats compared to 29 % at Kahanahaiki. Lastly, to determine if rodents from the sites were predators or dispersers of C. superba seed, fruit were fed to captive black rats and house mice (Mus musculus). Black rats consumed entire fruit, killing all the seed,while mice did little damage to the fruit and seed. Therefore, large-scale rat trapping can directly benefit the reproduction of C. superba subsp. superba. Controlling black rats at restoration sites appears integral to the successful restoration of this endangered plant species.