Invasive Species

From cane toads to kudzu, invasive species (sometimes called alien species) are those that aren't native to an ecosystem and that cause harm to native species, local economies or humans. Invasive species can be terrestrial species, like the pythons invading Florida's Everglades, marine, like the lionfish invading Caribbean waters, or pathogens. Invasive species can cause harm by out-competing native species, or preying on them. They can sometimes increase fire risks or contribute to erosion. Some invasive species have been introduced accidentally and others, like kudzu, were introduced on purpose and then spread more widely than originally intended. Invasive species are found in every type of habitat and are typically difficult to eradicate. Read more about invasive species around the globe and efforts to stop their spread.
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King Crabs Arrive in Antarctic, with Claws Out for Biodiversity
A king crab.
September 30th, 2015
The king crab could soon take over a whole new kingdom, and it has global warming to thank for the conquest.
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Alien-Like Worm Invades US
The New Guinea flatworm uses its pharynx (white) to ingest soft tissues from a Mediterranean snail.
June 23rd, 2015
The New Guinea flatworm, one of the worst invasive species on Earth, has appeared for the first time in the U.S. — in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The worm uses a mouth protruding from its belly to suck soft tissues from snails.
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In Photos: Thousands of Goldfish Swarm in Colorado Lake
Thousands of koi goldfish showed up in Teller Lake #5 this March.
April 9th, 2015
Thousands of goldfish were spotted in March in Teller Lake #5 off Arapahoe Road in Boulder, Colorado, and biologists are concerned. Here's a look at the fish-filled lake.
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Beautiful, Rat-Filled Island Seen From Space
Australia's Adele Island
August 10th, 2015
Australia's Adele Island appears tranquil from space, but this sandy spit is the site of efforts to eradicate an invasive rat population that devastates seabird populations.
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Holy Flying Fish! Why Jumping Asian Carp Bombard Rowers
Fishermen catching Asian carp
April 14th, 2015
A throng of giant flying fish that catapulted themselves towards oncoming rowers were not coordinating a fishy assault but were probably just spooked by the boat, science suggests.
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Fire Ants Hitched Ride Around Globe on 16th-Century Ships
Spanish trade routes in the 16th century that likely spread invasive fire ants around the globe.
February 19th, 2015
In one of the first global species invasions, tropical fire ants spread worldwide by inadvertently hitching rides on 16th-century Spanish ships. Unknowingly, the Spanish were setting up quite a headache for future generations.
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Near-Extinct Galápagos Island Tortoises Make Colossal Comeback
giant tortoise
October 28th, 2014
Once down to only 15 animals, giant tortoises on Espãnola, a tiny Galápagos island, now number about 1,000, making the reptile one of conservation's greatest success stories.
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Snake in the Grass! Huge Everglades Python Shows Invasive Issue
The giant python.
July 31st, 2015
A giant python, about as long as a shipping container, was captured in Everglades National Park in Florida earlier this month (July 9).
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3,000 Goldfish! Dumped Aquarium Pets Multiply in Lake
Thousands of goldfish showed up in Teller Lake #5 this March.
April 9th, 2015
They multiply like … fish! Apparently, a handful of goldfish dumped into a lake in Boulder, Colorado, just three years ago have reproduced and now number in the thousands.
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Killer Shrimp Could Invade the Great Lakes
killer shrimp
February 7th, 2015
Killer shrimp, creatures that indiscriminately slay other animals without eating them, may soon join the list of invasive species living in the Great Lakes, a new study finds.
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