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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Lionfish's Terminator-Style Killing Alarms Scientists
a red lionfish
August 14th, 2014
When other predatory fish quit stalking their prey to look for easier targets, lionfish just keep on killing.
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'Rock Snot' Gets Slimy Boost from Global Warming
rocksnot, global warming
May 8th, 2014
A type of freshwater algae, known as "rock snot," that infiltrates river bottoms and clumps on rocks is not an invasive species introduced into waterways by humans, a new study finds.
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There's Just One Thing Stopping Killer Shrimp from Wreaking Even More Havoc
killer shrimp, invasive species
March 27th, 2014
Alien species become invasive when their introduction to an ecosystem ends up causing ecological disruption in their new home.
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Chomping Invaders! Alien Trap-Jaw Ants Spread Along Gulf Coast
June 23rd, 2014
An aggressive type of trap-jaw ant with a mighty bite is gaining ground in the U.S. southeast, new research finds. The species, Odontomachus haematodus, is native to South America, but it seems to have spread recently along the Gulf Coast unnoticed.
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Australia Should Enlist Dingoes to Control Invasive Species (Op-Ed)
dingoes, invasive species, species controls
March 27th, 2014
Introduced species pose one of the greatest threats to Australia’s fauna and flora, but expensive efforts to control them aren’t working.
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Florida's Python Invaders Rarely Attack People Unprovoked
Burmese python in Everglades
March 12th, 2014
Burmese pythons, famous invaders of the Florida Everglades, can take down animals as large as alligators and deer. But the snakes pose little threat to humans and it's rare that the pythons will attack people without being provoked.
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Male-only Gene Trick Could Leave Invasive Fish Species Floundering (Op-Ed)
carp, invasive species, genetics
May 12th, 2014
A genetic modification that creates male-only populations could give us a new weapon against invasive fish such as carp that plague our waterways.
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How Cold Was Winter? Starving Rats Ate Trees
rats-trees
April 23rd, 2014
Some effects of the long-lasting, sub-freezing temperatures are only now becoming apparent. One surprise was the discovery that starving rats in New York City had attacked the trees in urban parks for sustenance.
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Florida Pythons Navigate Home Over Record-Breaking Distance
Burmese python in Everglades
March 19th, 2014
Most snakes have poor navigational capabilities, but the Burmese python can navigate home after being transported more than 20 miles away, using an internal map and compass.
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