Invasive Species

Saucerian

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Glad to say the bats are long gone, but a few weeks ago, I was jogging, stopped, and looked back, and in the path I was jogging thru, was wha looked like a stick or a tree branch, then I thought it might be a snake. I looked closer, and, sure enough I had jogged over a snake with moccasin like markings, maybe a water moccasin or coopperhead, the markings being kind of a light brown. It was not coiled but straight, with its head held up, and not moving at all. I very carefully walked away from the snake, and have since been very careful when I do my jogging.
 

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Glad to say the bats are long gone, but a few weeks ago, I was jogging, stopped, and looked back, and in the path I was jogging thru, was wha looked like a stick or a tree branch, then I thought it might be a snake. I looked closer, and, sure enough I had jogged over a snake with moccasin like markings, maybe a water moccasin or coopperhead, the markings being kind of a light brown. It was not coiled but straight, with its head held up, and not moving at all. I very carefully walked away from the snake, and have since been very careful when I do my jogging.
Usually the water moccasin is darkly colored (black) with brown stripes. However color can vary and on occasion the water moccasin has a lighter brown shade. They exist only in the southern states particularly Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. The copperhead has a wider range (but also has a mild temperament) and has been found as far north as Pennsylvania. A quick check at a North American field guide for reptiles (or Google?) could but Y at ease as to whether or not it was either of these 2 venomous snakes. Rather unlikely that these reptiles are spreading there range in the US, so I personally doubt there invasive species, but?
 

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Yet another threat to bees - and humans:
Hornet news

Biggest ever nest of hornets found on Sark. Each one eats 50 bees a day. "Experts" are battling them (I'm envisaging something like a 1950s giant monster movie) to stop them spreading to the rest of Britain. I'm thinking with the climate warming up anyway, it's probably too late.
 

IbisNibs

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Each one eats 50 bees a day.
So that would be equivalent to a 150 lb human eating 7,500 lbs of meat a day. Impressive. Wasps are scary.
 

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I saw this article some time ago and forgot to post it. My apologies if it's already been posted elsewhere.

It's interesting that there seems to be a way to both naturally combat (and reverse) the spread of the Grey Squirrel and also encourage the spread of the previously endangered Pine Marten in one fell swoop.

Return of pine martens could save Britain's red squirrels, say scientists

Areas with growing pine marten populations have seen grey squirrel numbers fall as they provide easy prey for the predators – unlike native reds, a new study shows
From the above article:

Adrian Vass, at the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, welcomed the new pine marten evidence and said it coincided with the development of an oral contraceptive that prevents grey squirrels from breeding
I don't know why, but my first thought on reading the above quote was; "just as long as they remember to take it!"
 

ramonmercado

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Watch out for the cuties.

Scientists are calling on conservationists to take the “charisma” of invasive species into consideration when managing the biological threat posed by them.The charisma of an invasive alien species refers to its popularity and its perception by society and the media.

The researchers outline their concerns in what they describe as a “concept and question” paper published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, saying these species may pose a threat to the biodiversity in the regions where they were introduced. Franck Courchamp, a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris who specialises in conservation biology and one of the study authors, told the PA news agency: “Biological invasions are considered the second cause of recent species extinctions, the current second threat to biodiversity, and the reason for an economic cost of hundreds of billions of dollars every year globally.”

He added: “We propose a claim that the charisma of species is likely to favour their invasion and we examine it under evidence of different aspects and processes with examples.”

For example, the researchers said, the arrival of the popular North American grey squirrel in Italy threatens the existence of the native red squirrel, but the emotive messages used by the media and animal campaign groups in response to a plan to control the population of the grey squirrel led to public opposition and long-drawn legal battles.

Meanwhile in the UK, the ruddy duck was adopted as the emblem of a birdwatchers’ club 50 years after it was introduced from North America, although numbers have reduced drastically in the recent years.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/break...g-invasive-species-scientists-say-992337.html
 

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The Asian Hornet advances across Europe.

Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) is rapidly spreading through Europe. Both experts and citizen scientists keep on identifying the new invader spreading all over the Old Continent in the last decades.

In a recent study, French scientists led by Prof. Franck Courchamp at the Université Paris-Saclay and the CNRS, tried to evaluate the first estimated control costs for this invasion. Supported by the INVACOST project, their findings are published in the open-access journal NeoBiota.
Since its invasion to France in 2004 when it was accidentally introduced from China, the Asian hornet has been spreading rapidly, colonising most of France at an approximate rate of 60-80 km per year, and also invading other European countries: Spain in 2010, Portugal and Belgium in 2011, Italy in 2012, Germany in 2014 and the UK in 2016. In the recent paper, published in the open-access journal Evolutionary Systematics, Dr. Martin Hussemann from CeNaK, University of Hamburg has recorded the northernmost capture of the Asian hornet in Hamburg in September 2019.

These data show that the Asian hornet is spreading all around Europe faster and faster with every year, even in climatically less favourable regions. The rapid invasion of the species is not necessarily caused by human-mediated dispersal—the species can rapidly spread on its own—but nevertheless, it is not uncommon.

https://phys.org/news/2020-04-asian-hornet-invasion-europe.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Researchers are now predicting the OOP lionfish is destined to become a permanent presence in the Mediterranean.
Invasive lionfish likely to become permanent residents in the Mediterranean

An invasive species first identified in the Mediterranean Sea just eight years ago is likely to become a permanent feature of the region, a new study suggests.

First seen off the coast of Cyprus in 2012, lionfish (Pterois miles) are now thriving and well-established in the area and across southern Europe.

However, the increasing densities observed over time - combined with the species' generalist diet and consumption of ecologically and socio-economically important fish - may result in further disruption of an already stressed marine environment.

The scale of spread would suggest the lionfish cannot be eradicated, with scientists writing in the Journal of Fish Biology suggesting the development of a dedicated lionfish industry could help manage the situation and lessen some of the species' negative impacts. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/uop-ill042720.php
 

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Night of the white tegu.

The gypsy moth caterpillar threatens to ravage crops in the northwest of America and colonies of Asian giant hornets could soon be moving through gentle woodlands to slaughter honey bees. And now the United States fears that giant lizards have invaded the deep south.

Wildlife officials in Georgia have asked residents to report any sightings of an Argentinian black and white tegu, and to catch or kill them if they can.

“If you are able to safely and humanely dispatch the animal we encourage that,” John Jensen, of the state’s department of natural resources, said.

As he made his appeal Mr Jensen was holding one of the invaders, a placid-looking creature with black eyes and ornate black and white scales. Tegus have been found living in Toombs County and Tattnall County, he said. They can grow to more than 4ft long and “they eat just about anything . . . one of their favourite foods are eggs from ground-nesting animals such as gopher tortoises, our protected state reptile”.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/...s-invade-southern-states-of-america-flptd8pqp
 

ramonmercado

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Tweed battles invasive species.

A guide based on experiences in the Borders hopes to help tackle invasive plant species across the UK.

The successes of the Tweed Forum along the length of the River Tweed are being shared as best practice. The guide - commissioned by The Rivers Trust - should help tackle the likes of giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and American skunk cabbage.

The Tweed Forum has been dealing with the issue for nearly 20 years in response to "strong public demand". Its invasives project started in 2002 following complaints including blistering and burns to the skin of people who came into contact with giant hogweed. Invasive plant species were causing riverbank erosion and increased flood-risk and threatened the area's native biodiversity - including destroying spawning and nursery habitat for salmonid fish species.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-52707073
 

ramonmercado

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NZ fights back.

The Quest to Purge New Zealand of Invasive Predators

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY appeared on Undark and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The wide, sunny streets of Miramar, a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, give the impression of a peaceful neighborhood. On a midsummer day earlier this year, the pohutukawa trees were abloom in a blaze of red, and kids on vacation zoomed about on scooters and skateboards. But in the backyards of these homes, business, and parks, Miramar is quietly at war.

Building traps, setting out poison, and keeping a guarded watch, Miramar is out to catch Wellington’s Most Wanted—every last rat, weasel, ferret, possum, and stoat that has invaded the city. They’re doing it to save the birds.

In a land where the only surviving native terrestrial mammal species are two thumb-sized bats, these invasive species have decimated native bird populations for centuries, causing dozens of extinctions of species found nowhere else on Earth. In 2015, New Zealand’s government launched a nationwide effort called Predator Free 2050 with a $17 million (28 million New Zealand dollars) investment to rid the country’s 164,375 square miles of invasive mammals in the next three decades. It’s an audacious goal: The next largest island to purge itself of predators is tiny South Georgia Island, which covers only 1,450 square miles.

https://www.wired.com/story/the-quest-to-purge-new-zealand-of-invasive-predators/
 

ramonmercado

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AIs will stop them!

Artificial intelligence can help track down invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed before they take over verges and cause expensive damage to roads
  • The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Keen AI are working on the AI
  • Once trained, it will rapidly scan images of roadsides to highlight invasive plants
  • This will reduce the costs of plant surveys and increase their potential scale
  • Images could be captured by a camera mounted on a vehicle driving around
  • A 10-month pilot project will survey roadsides in Birmingham and north Wales


https://www.dailymail.co.uk/science...igence-help-track-invasive-plants-verges.html
 

ramonmercado

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False widow spiders overrun British Isles.

An invasive species of spider which is spreading throughout Ireland is more aggressive and more dangerous than experts have suggested, an Oxford zoologist has suggested.

The noble false widow spider was first spotted in Ireland in 1998 and has been multiplying in number. It is found in most urban areas and has been spotted in 22 counties on the island.

It is also spreading rapidly in the UK and is regarded as an invasive species, most likely originating in the Canary Islands.

False widow spiders are so called because they resemble the deadly black widow spider, which are more commonly found in the US, Australia and parts of Asia.

In a study covering Britain and Ireland, Clive Hambler of Oxford’s zoology department, said he could no longer agree with the view of the British Arachnological Society that “being bitten by a spider is very unlikely in this country in normal circumstances”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/sci...idow-spider-makes-bites-more-likely-1.4296882
 

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Getting worse.

An increase of 20 to 30 per cent of invasive non-native (alien) species would lead to dramatic future biodiversity loss worldwide.

This is the conclusion of a study by an international team of researchers led by Franz Essl and Bernd Lenzner from the University of Vienna. It has been published in the journal Global Change Biology. Human activities intentionally and unintentionally introduce more and more plant and animal species to new regions of the world—for example, via commodity transport or tourism. Some of these alien species have negative consequences for biodiversity and humans well-being, for example by displacing native species or transmitting diseases.

https://phys.org/news/2020-07-invasive-alien-species-global-biodiversity.html
 

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Shell shocked!

An estimated 200 alligator snapping turtles that have settled at a German lake pose such a threat to passers-by that officials may have to shoot them.

Notoriously combative and armed with beak-like jaws, the animals, which are indigenous to North America, are believed to have multiplied since they were released by pet owners in the 1990s. Their shells can grow to 45cm and they can weigh 16kg.

“We are worried that strollers or children may want to touch the animals,” Anja Kühne, spokeswoman for the district authority of Viersen, near the Dutch border, told Bild after two turtles were removed this month. “They are fast and have two tonnes of biting power — a finger would be gone in no time. Even dogs could be attacked.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/snapping-turtles-terrorise-german-lake-qgp0jjj5x
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's an update on the status of Florida's invasion by Burmese pythons ...
Slithery milestone: 5,000 pythons captured in Everglades

Florida hit another new milestone this week — 5,000 Burmese pythons have been captured in the Everglades since the state started paying hunters to track them down in 2017.

The program is managed by the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which made the announcement on Tuesday.

“Another win for the Everglades,” Ron Bergeron, a water district board member and an avid python hunter, told the Miami Herald. “Each invasive python eliminated represents hundreds of native Florida wildlife saved.” ...

The pythons have become a threat to the fragile ecosystem in the Everglades, disrupting the natural balance of predator and prey. They’ve been successful at reproducing in the swampy Everglades because they have no predators. Females can lay up to 100 eggs. ...

Scientists estimate there are between 100,000 and 300,000 pythons in the Everglades.
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/04bc804a3b88b868a7ad4a420da3d77a
 

ramonmercado

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The chub are in the Inny.

The reappearance of the invasive fish species chub on the River Inny in Co Longford has been confirmed, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Chub have the potential to compete with native fishes for food and space and are potentially a carrier of fish diseases and parasites, the IFI said.

The Government agency said it is investigating the extent of the invasion and assessing strategies for eradication and control.

The fish was captured on rod and line at a targeted location identified by IFI staff who recorded potential sightings at several locations.

Chub are non-native in Ireland, and the River Inny is the only Irish river in which they have been recorded.

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2020/0825/1161139-chub-species/
 

ramonmercado

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Should goats who butt in be treated with kid gloves?

On an island off the Queensland coast, a battle is brewing over the fate of a small population of goats.

The battle positions the views of some conservation scientists and managers who believe native species must be protected from this invasive fauna, against those of community members who want to protect the goat herd to which they feel emotionally connected. Similar battles color the management decisions around brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park and cats all over Australia.

These debates show the impact of a new movement called "compassionate conservation." This movement aims to increase levels of compassion and empathy in the management process, finding conservation solutions that minimize harm to wildlife. Among their ideas, compassionate conservationists argue no animal should be killed in the name of conservation. ...

https://phys.org/news/2020-09-compassionate-invasive-animals-doesnt.html
 

Mythopoeika

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Should goats who butt in be treated with kid gloves?

On an island off the Queensland coast, a battle is brewing over the fate of a small population of goats.

The battle positions the views of some conservation scientists and managers who believe native species must be protected from this invasive fauna, against those of community members who want to protect the goat herd to which they feel emotionally connected. Similar battles color the management decisions around brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park and cats all over Australia.

These debates show the impact of a new movement called "compassionate conservation." This movement aims to increase levels of compassion and empathy in the management process, finding conservation solutions that minimize harm to wildlife. Among their ideas, compassionate conservationists argue no animal should be killed in the name of conservation. ...

https://phys.org/news/2020-09-compassionate-invasive-animals-doesnt.html
Better not get the nanny state involved...
 

maximus otter

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...emotionally connected..."compassionate conservation."
How’s that working out for the UK’s red squirrels vs. invasive greys? Most of Oz’s small species vs. feral cats? NZ’s ground-dwelling birds vs. rats?

Reds thrive where greys are hammered. Failing to intervene isn’t “compassion”, it’s siding with the “aggressor”.

“Emotionally connected compassionate conservation” = “irrational bunny- hugging”.

maximus otter
 

Comfortably Numb

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'Piranha' found dead in River Ness at Inverness

Source: BBC Scotland
Date: 8 September, 2020

What is thought to be a piranha or a close relative of the fish has been found dead in the River Ness at Inverness.

The discovery by Ness District Fishery Board followed an angler coming across two Central American species of fish in the river.

The board said the fish found on Tuesday could be a piranha or a silver dollar, a relative of piranha and pacu.

The other exotic fish found were thought to be Jaguar cichlids.

It is suspected the fish were kept as pets before being dumped. The warm water species would not have survived long in the Ness.

But the fishery board said the fish could have had diseases or parasites that posed a risk to native fish.

[...]

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotl...s/scotland&link_location=live-reporting-story
 

ramonmercado

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Owls at risk while government doesn't give a hoot.

Scotland's wildlife is increasingly at risk from non-native species, according to the country's nature agency.

NatureScot says there are more than 180 species - 122 plants and about 60 animals - which pose threats such as killing wildlife or damaging habitats. But how have these species arrived here - and which are seen as the next big threat?

Some reached Scotland on the hulls or in the ballast of ships, while others have escaped from gardens, private animal collections or zoos.
Other species have spread from elsewhere in Great Britain and continental Europe.

Pink salmon, a fish native to Pacific Ocean waters, have been appearing in Scottish rivers in recent years. It spread to parts of northern Europe after being released into rivers in Russia in the 1960s. "Unprecedented numbers" were found in Scottish rivers in 2017 and were filmed spawning in the River Ness in the Highlands. Anglers reported seeing the fish again last year.

Abandoned exotic pets also pose a potential threat. Last week, several tropical fish were found in the River Ness at Inverness. The warm water fish, which did not survive long in the cold river, may have had diseases harmful to native species. ...

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-54146555
 

ramonmercado

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Now, to add to your 2020 experience: Invasion Of The Jumping Worms!

What could be more 2020 than an ongoing invasion of jumping worms?

These earthworms are wriggling their way across the United States, voraciously devouring protective forest leaf litter and leaving behind bare, denuded soil. They displace other earthworms, centipedes, salamanders and ground-nesting birds, and disrupt forest food chains. They can invade more than five hectares in a single year, changing soil chemistry and microbial communities as they go, new research shows. And they don’t even need mates to reproduce.

Endemic to Japan and the Korean Peninsula, three invasive species of these worms — Amynthas agrestis, A. tokioensis and Metaphire hilgendorfi — have been in the United States for over a century. But just in the past 15 years, they’ve begun to spread widely (SNS: 10/7/16). Collectively known as Asian jumping worms, crazy worms, snake worms or Alabama jumpers, they’ve become well established across the South and Mid-Atlantic and have reached parts of the Northeast, Upper Midwest and West. ...

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/invasive-jumping-worms-damage-soil-threaten-forests
 

EnolaGaia

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Newly published research predicts a substantial increase in the number and distribution of invasive species / alien species worldwide.
Alien species to increase by 36 percent globally by 2050

The number alien species is projected to increase by 36 percent by 2050, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Global Change Biology.

Species are classified as alien when they colonize habitat outside their native ranges. ...

To predict how many new species will become aliens in the decades ahead, researchers relied on a mathematical model to analyze current rates of invasion, consider the source pool of possible invaders and produce simulations based on a 'business-as-usual' scenario.

The model predicted that by the middle of the century, there will be 36 percent more alien plant and animal species than there were in 2005. ...

If current invasion rates continue apace, the data suggests Europe will fare particularly poorly, with the continent expected to welcome 2,500 new alien species over the next 45 years -- a 64 percent increase, double the projected global increase. ...

Besides Europe, the new simulations showed temperate latitudes in Asia, North America and South America are also likely to welcome a pronounced uptick in alien invaders. Conversely, Australia is expected to see a relatively small number of new alien species.

In Europe, the invaders won't always be obvious.

"These will primarily include rather inconspicuous new arrivals such as insects, molluscs and crustaceans," said lead study author Hanno Seebens. ...

A similar pattern is expected around the globe, with arthropods, such as arachnids and crustaceans, making up a large percentage of the newest alien species. ...

Scientists suggest the rate at which new alien species arrive in most parts of the world is likely to accelerate in the coming decades, as global trade and travel continue to increase. ...
FULL STORY:
https://www.upi.com/Science_News/20...by-36-percent-globally-by-2050/7681601587808/

PUBLISHED RESEARCH REPORT:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.15333
 

EnolaGaia

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This was news to me ... I didn't know German rivers had been invaded by Chinese crabs.
Large Chinese mitten crab crawls into German woman’s home

Police in southern Germany say a woman got a shock while airing out her home when a 25-centimeter (10-inch) Chinese mitten crab scurried in from the terrace through the open door.

Freiburg police said Thursday that they received a call reporting the unwanted home invader in the nearby town of Unterlauchringen, near the Swiss border, the previous morning.

Before they arrived, police say, the woman captured the crustacean by putting an upside-down garbage can on top of it.

Officers were able to put the crab into a container and then take it to a local veterinary clinic. ...

The invasive species, native to Asia, is now found in many rivers in Germany, and the woman’s residence was not far from the Rhine, though the Chinese mitten crab has never been reported in the area before. They’re not considered dangerous.
SOURCE (With Photo): https://apnews.com/article/crabs-germany-archive-3876d57dcc888f5fd38a6a30e92684bf
 
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