Zebra Mussel Brown Tree Snake Invasive Species Snakehead Fish Nutria A Summary of Invasions Caribou Kudzu Leidy’s Comb Jelly
Pythons Invade the Everglades • The Burmese python is a native to Southeast Asia • However, in Florida in the Everglades National Park, these pythons can be seen in the wild. • These snakes are bigger than any other North American snake. • It can live up to 25 years and reach 20 feet in length. • It can also “achieve the girth of a telephone pole and dine on full grown deer.” Florida DNR Find Python in Road
The “Blender Effect” • Blender Effect: “All over the world in nearly every region and kind of ecosystem, animals and plants that evolved somewhere else are turning up where they’re not wanted-having been transported by us, inadvertently or intentionally. “ Burmese Python Crossing Rural Road in the Florida Everglades
The Cause of the Blender Effect • Burmese pythons are imported from Asia to Florida through the pet trade. • People then drop the pythons off in the Everglades, when they find that the snake does not make a great pet. • Pythons are generalists. This means that they live a long time and are not picky about the food that they consume. • So, they survive, find one another, and breed.
We Are Our Own Worst Enemies • Invasive species do not JUST come from other countries into North America. • Several of our western world species have found their way into the eastern world and have become established as well. • Example: The red-eared slider red-eared slider
What Is This Cute Little Reptile Doing?? • The red-eared slider is native to the Mississippi basin, but has been shipped all over the world to be used as food and pets. • However, the turtle was released and is making its way across Asia and southern Europe. • This cute little reptile may seem harmless, but it has no natural predators in these introduced areas, so it devours native frogs, mollusks, and even birds.
Brown Tree Snake • The brown tree snake is native to New Guinea and Australia. • After World War II, a few of them hid in some military equipment, and established themselves in Guam. • This was a problem, because yet again, the snake had no natural predators, nor did they find any competition from other animals.
A Slithering Surprise • As the brown tree snake established in Guam it found a great abundance of bird eggs. • Not only were the eggs on the ground and easy access for the snake, but the birds had never known any terrestrial predator so they had no defense against the snake. • The snake has a venomous bite, and has caused multiple people to be rushed to the emergency room. • The snake has also been a nuisance, because of its climbing habits that have caused more than 2,000 electrical outages. • The snake has also wiped out 8 of Guam’s 11 native bird species.
Destructive Plants • Aggressive plants are the worst of invasive species. • For example: mile-a-minute weed is native to Central and South America. • It was brought into India during WWII to camouflage large swaths in southern Asia. • It now takes over forests and crops by smothering them and eventually killing them.
Some Invasive Prices • Florida spends $50 million every year controlling invasive species. • New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and the federal government has spent $175 million trying to control the Asian long-horned beetle. • In 2001 the hoof-and-mouth disease outbreak in England caused businesses there nearly $4 billion • Experts estimate that the U.S. alone spends more than $140 billion yearly on invasive species. Asian long-horned beetle
Where Do Invasive Species Rank!!?? • “Invasive species rank second only to habitat destruction in the magnitude of threat the pose.” • In the old west all cattlemen had to battle were sheep herders over grazing land for their livestock. • Today sheepherders are the least of a cattlemen's worries. They now have to fight against a Eurasian weed called leafy spurge.
Controversy leafy spurge • The leafy spurge overwhelms native grasses. • In North Dakota, this weed has taken over 1.2 million acres that was once inhabited by prairie smoke and other native species. • Cows dislike the spurge, but the sheep enjoy it thoroughly. prairie smoke
A Shrieking Experience • Maui, Hawaii is more than just relaxation and fun. • There is an orange-brown frog that is no bigger than a bottle cap that can serenade you at night at measurements up to 90 decibels. • This little amphibian is called the coqui frog. It is a Caribbean tree frog that found its way to Hawaii by entering the Pacific on nursery plants from Puerto Rico.
The Coqui Frog Problems • Breeding males start to call in the evening and can call all night- all year long. • This calling drives Hawaiians insane, because the calls are so loud. • The big island of Hawaii actually had to declare a state of emergency to qualify for federal funds to eradicate the frog. • This frog could ultimately hurt tourism and has already put a dent in the $80 million nursery export business. • These frogs will eat a billion insects, robbing native birds of food.
Hawaiian Problems • Axis deer were brought over from Asia as a royal gift to the Hawaiian king about a century ago • Now, they are just a royal pain • Why? because they are stripping vegetation, speeding erosion, and causing car wrecks
Taro Plantation Problems • For many families growing the Hawaiian staple the taro has not been a problem • Though 15 years ago, the invasion of the golden apple snail began to threaten the crop • It was imported there to be raised and sold in the food markets, however it never found a market and took a liking to the taro
How is this a problem? • The golden apple snail has to eat a whole taro patch before they can even mature • Golden apple snails arrived in Hawaii with no natural predators • So, Hawaii imported cayuga ducks, who love eating the snails • Now, it is against the law to import the cayuga ducks, in an effort to control their population
Invasive golden apple snail that eat the taro plants Taro plantations in Hawaii Cayuga ducks that eat the golden apple snails
Dangerous Spreading Seaweed • More damaging than any fish out there is the tropical seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia • In spring 1984, Caulerpa was dumped into the waters from Monaco’s oceanographic museum Caulerpa taxifolia
What is happening with the seaweed? • Discovered three years later, the colony wasn’t that large at all (more like a bath mat) • France and Monaco argued back and forth about who was responsible for it, however, it now covers over 30,000 acres in the Mediterranean • The USA did not prohibit the sale of Caulerpauntil 1999, the following year it was found in the water northwest of San Diego
Restricting the entry can be hard! • For many countries, there is a short black list of noxious weeds or injurious wildlife, and unless a species is listed it can be imported anywhere • Australia and New Zealand though abandoned this presumption of innocence in favor of a more effective “clean list” of approved species, species that are not on their list can not enter • Lack of coordination between government agencies and conflicting mandates can make invasive species control difficult
It took the USDA five years to list melaleuca, a highly invasive Australian paperbark tree that converted 500,000 acres of native Florida wetlands to forest • Many aquaculture facilities are to blame for introducing exotic fish species that escape their farms • In 1999, Congress took the first step to take control of our problems by establishing the National Invasive Species Council melaleuca Asian carp
Is this helping? • Not everything that Congress is doing is helping, because more and more invasive or exotic species are making their way into the United States • Ships are not helping either, carrying foreign species across oceans all at once, capable of moving 10 to 12 billion tons of water from port to port year round • Slowly invasive species will take over the world if they are not controlled when first noticed
“Invasives aren’t like other forms of pollution. They don’t stop spreading when you stop releasing them. They grow.” David Lodge, an ecologist at the University of Notre Dame Page 107, National Geographic - March 2005