Invasive Species

cane toad
Cane toads (Bufo marinus) were originally introduced to Australia in 1935 to control sugar cane pests. The original batched numbered 102. The current population in Australia: 1.5 billion. A study presented in July 2010 at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Prague showed that not only can the toads survive over a broad temperature range, but they prefer higher temperatures. That suggests global warming may be a boon for the invasive toads. (Image credit: Dreamstime)

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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