Non-native creatures can now more easily invade another person’s home than ever before.
Bullying occurs not only in schoolyards but also in the natural world! Plants and animals known as invasive species are those that are introduced to a new area and coerce the native species until many are unable to live.
They typically reproduce considerably faster, are more demanding, and harder. They have no natural predators because they are a new addition to their ecosystem. This implies that no species exists to prevent them from occupying a region.
Animals can now enter via people’s baggage after returning from far-flung trips, hitch rides on boats, and even infiltrate through imported wood, all thanks to significant advancements in global transportation.
Table of Contents
Invasive Species Examples
Below are a few popular species
- Asian Carp
- Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
- Cane Toad (Rhinella marina)
- European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- The European/Common Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
- Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)
- Asian Long-Horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)
- Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)
- Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis)
- Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
- Nutria or Coypu (Myocastor coypus)
- The Nile Perch
- The Burmese Python
- The Snakehead Fish
- The Cotton Whitefly
- The Asian Tiger Mosquito
- The Black Rat
1. Asian Carp
The term “Asian carp” describes some native carp species found in Asia, such as bighead, silver, black, common, and grass carp.
Although they originated in Eastern Russia and China, they were brought to North America and Europe for pleasure fishing, food, and the pet trade.
Asian carp are huge fish with voracious appetites that proliferate rapidly. They have been observed to feed on the eggs of other fish species and deprive local fish of their food and habitat.
Carp’s feeding habits cause sediments and organisms from the lake and river beds to be stirred up, which turns clear lakes into murky ones and alters the kinds of animals that can live there.
2. Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
Although they originated in the Black, Caspian, Aral, and Azov oceans, ballast water from these waters brought them to Russia, Europe, and North America. Additionally, they cling to the outside of boats or are transported by floating vegetation.
Due to their rapid population growth, zebra mussels are among the most aggressive freshwater invaders. Large zebra mussel colonies that filter water can negatively affect native plankton, which decreases fish food.
Then, intourvive, these plankton-eating fish must relocate to a different lake or find a new food supply. Unfortunately, many species don’t have the option. Native mussels are likewise starved because zebra mussels leave very little for them to filter.
3. Cane Toad (Rhinella marina)
Although they originated in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America, they were brought to many warm-weathered nations, including Australia, to help manage agricultural pests.
A remarkable defense mechanism of cane toads is the production of toxic ooze. Predators elsewhere are susceptible to this toxic slime, but not those in their natural habitat. A lot of creatures that try to eat cane toads end up dead.
Because there is nothing to control their population growth, cane toad populations in non-native areas have skyrocketed, negatively affecting native plant and animal species.
4. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Although they originated in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, they were brought to North America, Southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand as pets, as pest control measures, and as a result of a group of people attempting to bring all the birds referenced in Shakespeare’s plays to North America.
European starlings frequently number over 3,000 birds in their enormous groups. A flock this size can seriously harm a farm if it feasts on grains and fruit.
These birds are also combative, engaging in battles for territory and food with local species. They even raid other birds’ nests, depriving natives of a home to raise their young or lay eggs.
5. The European/Common Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Although they originated in Southern Europe and North Africa, they were brought to every continent during colonial periods, except Antarctica and Asia, as a food source and a method to remind people of their home.
Rabbits procreate rapidly. A single female can give birth to 18–30 babies in a year! In certain locations, native plant species have been pushed to the brink by their massive population growth and voracious eating.
Additionally, they put native animals in competition for food and shelter, reducing the number of native species in the region. Through overgrazing and burrowing, they have eroded the soil, harming numerous species that rely on that habitat.
6. Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)
Although they originated in Eastern Asia and a few Pacific Islands, they were brought to North America and Europe as a culinary and garden plant.
Aggressive in nature, kudzu can reach a height of 26 cm (just under 1 foot) per day. It smothers other plants, preventing them from getting sunlight, because it grows so swiftly. Mature trees can even be killed by kudzu.
As a result, the ecosystem’s structure is altered and native plants are prevented from flourishing. Even worse, once kudzu takes hold, it may be very challenging to eradicate.
7. Asian Long-Horned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)
Although they are indigenous to China, Japan, and Korea, exports of wooden pallets and trees brought them to North America and Europe.
It doesn’t matter where Asian longhorn beetles deposit their eggs—nearly any deciduous tree will do. They consume the soft, sappy bark of the tree as larvae, which hinders nutrients from getting to other areas of the tree.
The larvae physically weaken the tree as they grow and burrow into the center of the trunk, leaving behind extensive tunnels.
Asian longhorn beetles break through the tree’s bark as adults, creating big holes in it. After they become infested with Asian longhorn beetles, many trees die.
8. Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)
Although they originated in Southeast Asia, they were brought to Asia, Central America, and South America to manage snakes and rats as pests. Aggressive predators are small Indian mongooses.
The decline of numerous birds, reptiles, and mammals, including the endangered Amami rabbit, the critically endangered Pink Pigeon, the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, the critically endangered Jamaica Petrel, and the extinct Bar-winged Rail, are all attributed to them. Mongooses also carry diseases that affect humans, including rabies.
9. Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis)
The Northern Pacific seastar, or Asterias amurensis, is indigenous to the waters surrounding China, Japan, and Korea. But ballast water—the liquid that ships carry to keep their balance at sea—is what brought it to Australia. They can also be carried with live fish or fastened to boats and fishing gear.
Seastars in the Northern Pacific have a voracious appetite. They’ll consume nearly anything they come upon. The rapid reproduction of Northern Pacific seastars exacerbates the situation.
Within two years of their introduction, the population of seastars in one location reached an estimated 12 million. They have been held accountable for the spotted handfish’s sharp fall, which is extremely threatened.
10. Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Water hyacinths, or Eichhornia crassipes, are native to the Amazon basin and the waterways of Western Brazil and South America. However, they were brought to Africa, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand as ornamental plants, animal feed, aquarium trade, seeds, and getting stuck on boats.
The aquatic plant known as water hyacinth grows quickly. Known to be among the deadliest weeds in the world, they can be found in over 50 nations. A little patch of water hyacinth can double in size in just six days if the appropriate circumstances are met!
The dense and thick growth of these plants clogs rivers and makes it practically hard for animals to pass through. They drastically alter the environment by preventing oxygen and sunlight from reaching other plants beneath the water.
11. Nutria or Coypu (Myocastor coypus)
The nutria, also known as Myocastor coypus, is a semi-aquatic rodent native to South America. Nutria, although they resemble rats, were originally raised for their silky fur.
As the fur trade began to wane in the early 20th century, traders released the animals into the wild, where they have since wreaked havoc and expanded to every coast in the state of Louisiana.
Additionally, sizable groups of ferals produced larger populations that are currently found in regions of Europe, North America, and Asia after escaping from fur farms.
These rodents are skilled diggers; their tunnels eat away at the marshlands and reed beds where they reside, weakening dykes and riverbanks and ruining irrigation systems. When nutria populations are high, they can consume so much vegetation that marshlands can quickly become open water.
Nutria poses a threat to the deep-bodied bitterling fish and the severely endangered Libellula angelina dragonfly in Japan. Nutria has destroyed the Italian water lily layer that formerly provided food for the breeding of whiskered terns.
12. The Nile Perch
Many freshwater African lakes and river systems are home to the Nile perch native to those regions. However, Lake Victoria’s ecology was unprepared for it when it was introduced in the 1950s.
For many years, commercial fishing managed to control fish populations. However, in the late 1980s, the population of fish skyrocketed, resulting in the extinction or near extinction of numerous native species.
The massive fish, which can reach a length of two meters and a weight of over 200 kg, is thought to have had a disastrous effect because of its ravenous appetite for important ecosystem-supporting species including fish and crustaceans, insects, and zooplankton.
13. The Burmese Python
The Burmese python is an example of a large predatory species introduced into an ecosystem where native fauna presents little to no competition for resources.
The enormous snakes, which can reach lengths of up to 20 feet, are indigenous to Southern Asia’s tropical and subtropical regions. There, they thrive both in and around bodies of water and among trees.
The first known python in Florida was found in 1979 by workers at Everglades National Park; it was most likely a Burmese python. Reports of established Burmese python populations in Florida began to arrive in 2000.
But their unintentional release into the wild in Florida has also demonstrated that the species thrives in the semi-aquatic habitat of Everglades National Park, where an estimated 30,000 Burmese pythons have developed a habit of chowing down on a variety of threatened and endangered birds as well as alligators (yes, alligators).
14. The Snakehead Fish
The snakehead is a truly terrifying creature. The Northern Snakehead is aptly named “Fishzilla,” according to National Geographic, and with good reason.
With their razor-sharp teeth, voracious thirst for blood, ability to grow to over three feet in length, and capacity to produce up to 75,000 eggs annually, snakehead fish are true forces of nature It, using a crude breathing mechanism, can even breathe while migrating on land and spend up to four days at a time looking for other areas of water.
Although they originated in the waterways of East Asia, different species of snakehead have destroyed native food systems in the United States, from Maine to California.
15. The Cotton Whitefly
Living evidence that some of the most destructive invasive species come in small packages can be seen in the cotton whitefly.
By the time they reach adulthood, whiteflies are only a millimeter long, but they are known to feed on 900 different types of plants worldwide and have the ability to spread up to 100 different plant viruses.
Though they are said to have originated in India, whiteflies are found thriving on all continents except Antarctica.
16. The Asian Tiger Mosquito
The Asian tiger mosquito is easily recognized despite its native habitat in Southeast Asia’s tropical and subtropical regions, thanks to its distinctive black and white stripe pattern. Scientists believe that, in the last 20 years alone, it has spread to at least 28 countries outside its native range, making it one of the planet’s most widely distributed animal species.
The international tire trade, of all places, is thought to be the vector for the tiger mosquito because tires kept outside tend to retain moisture, which gives the mosquito the perfect environment for reproducing and survival.
In addition to carrying viruses like West Nile and Dengue, it also likes to associate closely with humans and is known to feed continuously, which makes it a significant hazard to communities globally (many species of mosquito only feed at dark and dawn).
17. The Black Rat
One of the first invasive animals that humans unintentionally dispersed was probably the black rat.
Originating in India, Rattus rattus is thought to have made its way to Europe by the first century and has since spread like wildfire around the globe, landing on every continent and boarding large numbers of European ships in the process.
Since then, the black rat has proliferated in almost every part of the globe and has developed remarkably strong adaptations to suburban, urban, and rural environments.
Regretfully, it is thought that the success of this species—along with that of many other rat species—came at the cost of sharp drops in population and even the extinction of innumerable tiny vertebrate species around the world, including bird and reptile species.
The largest loss of species has been in birds; it is generally acknowledged that rats, not disease, caused the extinction of numerous native bird species in the 19th century, including the Tahitian sandpiper.
Rats carry diseases such as typhus, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, and the bubonic plague. They are primarily nocturnal, which explains why you can sometimes see them scuttling around in the dark. They also mate often, giving birth to litters of three to ten children with as little as 27 days between each birth.
What can we do, given that we have witnessed certain invasive species and their potential threat to our ecosystem? Given our limited resources, there are a few things we can do to combat invasive species.
- Verify that the plants you purchase for your house or garden are not invasive species. For a list of native plants, get in touch with the native plant society in your state.
- When boating, always clean your vessel completely before launching it into a new body of water.
- Before going on a hike in a new location, clean your boots.
- Avoid bringing any food, firewood, plants, animals, or shells from other ecosystems home.
- Never let your dogs roam free
- Alter invasive species by volunteering at your neighborhood park, refuge, or other wildlife habitat. Programs for restoring native species are also present in most parks.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.