The Giant African Land Snail Has Been Spotted Again in Florida

Wash your lettuce.

#florida, #invasive-species, #pasco-county-fla, #quarantines, #snails

To Catch a Snake: Largest Python Found in Everglades Signals a Threat

The Burmese python caught by a team of trackers breaks a record and shows the invasive species surviving in Florida’s ecosystem despite efforts to remove those snakes.

#conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #environment, #everglades-fla, #florida, #invasive-species, #snakes

New Zealand’s Biodiversity Crisis Prompts Extreme Measures

A few years ago, the nation vowed to rid itself of most imported predators. But now some people are asking if that goal is feasible, or worth what it will cost.

#biodiversity, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #invasive-species, #new-zealand, #volunteers-and-community-service

A Portrait of South Georgia: Abundance, Exploitation, Recovery

A series of ecological initiatives, including the eradication of several invasive species, has dramatically revived the life and landscape of this remote sub-Antarctic island.

#animals, #antarctic-regions, #birds, #global-warming, #hunting-and-trapping, #invasive-species, #islands, #oceans-and-seas, #penguins, #rats, #reindeer, #seals-animals-and-sealing, #south-georgia-island, #whales-and-whaling, #wildlife-die-offs

How Nature Becomes a Casualty of War

Research on past conflicts suggests that the war in Ukraine could have a profound environmental impact.

#angola, #animals, #biodiversity, #birds, #chernobyl-ukraine, #conservation-of-resources, #defense-and-military-forces, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #europe, #forests-and-forestry, #gorongosa-national-park-mozambique, #invasive-species, #korean-demilitarized-zone, #mousseau-timothy-a, #mozambique, #nicaragua, #nuclear-wastes, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #ukraine, #war-and-armed-conflicts, #wildlife-sanctuaries-and-nature-reserves, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Fungus foils invading hordes of crazy ants, and that’s great for Texas

Ants crawl over the corpse of an insect many times their size.

Enlarge / Tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) feeding on a cricket. (credit: Lawrence E. Gilbert)

Several years ago, staffers at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, Texas, noticed a new type of invasive ant species. Tawny crazy ants were so aggressive that they were driving birds out of their nests and occasionally swarming over visitors who paused to sit awhile on a trail. Populations of other native species—like scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, and lizards—sharply declined, while rabbits were blinded by the ants’ venom.

That’s when University of Texas at Austin biologist Ed LeBrun got involved. “They had a crazy ant infestation, and it was apocalyptic—rivers of ants going up and down every tree,” he said. Crazy ants have since spread rapidly through every state on the Gulf Coast, with over 27 Texas counties reporting significant infestations. The usual ant-bait traps and over-the-counter pesticides have proven ineffective, so the EPA has approved the temporary restricted use of an anti-termite agent called fipronil. But a more targeted and less toxic control strategy would be preferable.

LeBrun has worked extensively on fire ants, another invasive species that has plagued the region. He has spent the last few years investigating potential sustainable control strategies based on crazy ants’ natural enemies in the wild. LeBrun and his colleagues have now discovered that a specific type of fungus can effectively wipe out crazy ant colonies while leaving other native species alone, according to a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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#ants-are-awesome, #biology, #crazy-ants, #ecology, #fungi, #invasive-species, #science

Cannibalistic Toads Reveal ‘Evolution in Fast Motion,’ Study Finds

The toxin that makes cane toads so poisonous is causing them to eat their young, but only in Australia, where they became an out-of-control pest.

#amphibians, #australia, #cannibalism, #central-america, #ecology-and-evolution-journal, #evolution-biology, #frogs, #invasive-species, #poisoning-and-poisons, #research, #your-feed-science

Ships from 1,581 ports may go to Antarctica, bringing unwanted guests

Tourist boats could potentially bring invasive species to the Antarctic region.

Enlarge / Tourist boats could potentially bring invasive species to the Antarctic region. (credit: Andrew Peacock)

Right now, the Antarctic and the waters around it are surprisingly free of invasive species. According to new research, however, that situation might change in the not-too-distant future, thanks to a shocking level of connectivity with ports across the world. Ships can accidentally carry a large array of marine life, which can in turn colonize new places (like the world’s polar south), outcompete native life, and generally wreak havoc on an ecosystem. New research has traced the paths of the various research vessels, tourist ships, and fishing boats that chug along through the icy waters of the Antarctic.

According to Arlie McCarthy, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and the British Antarctic Survey, these watercraft all carry with them a risk of unwanted visitors. And the visitors may have more chances to relocate than we once thought.

“We know from other cold areas in the world, including the Arctic, that things growing on the hulls of ships absolutely do get transported from place to place, and it is one of the major sources of marine introductions around the world,” McCarthy told Ars. “We also know that ships going into Antarctica do have things growing on them. What we didn’t know until this point was good detail on where those ships go.”

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#antarctic, #climate-change, #invasive-species, #research-vessels, #science, #shipping, #southern-ocean, #tourism

Putting the fear of bass into mosquitofish—with a robot

The Robo-bass, along with some actual fish.

Enlarge / The Robo-bass, along with some actual fish. (credit: Giovanni Polverino)

The mosquitofish is a particularly troublesome invasive species that has spread from its original home in North America to various locales around the world, including Europe and Australia. The small, 3 cm-long fish likes to chew the tails off fish and tadpoles and consume the eggs of other freshwater denizens.

Being an invasive species, the fish are mostly fearless, and they have no predators in the places they’ve colonized. However, an international team of biologists and engineers has found a solution to the problem: a robot.

Back in 2019, Giovanni Polverino—currently a post-doc at the University of Western Australia—and his colleagues developed a mechanical largemouth bass that proved to be effective in scaring mosquitofish. In North America, juvenile largemouth bass regularly make meals of the species; the primal fear of this predator has stuck with the mosquito fish as they traversed the globe.

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#australia, #fish, #invasive-species, #robotics, #science

How to Scare an Invasive Fish? A Menacing Robot Predator.

The mosquitofish is wreaking havoc on native Australian marine life. In a new study, scientists tried to frighten it with a look-alike of its natural foe.

#animal-behavior, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #invasive-species, #iscience-journal, #research, #robots-and-robotics, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Meet an Ecologist Who Works for God (and Against Lawns)

A Long Island couple says fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity starts at home. Or rather, right outside their suburban house.

#environment, #flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #global-warming, #insects, #invasive-species, #landscaping, #lawns, #wading-river-ny

Why the Bradford Pear Tree Is Plaguing the South

The Bradford pear, hugely popular when suburbs were developed, contributed to an invasion of trees conquering nearly anywhere it lands. South Carolina is stepping up its fight against it.

#flowers-and-plants, #invasive-species, #landscaping, #suburbs, #trees-and-shrubs

Die, Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly, Die

There’s a new natural predator in New York City, and the government wants us to kill it. Can we summon the resolve?

#agriculture-department, #brooklyn-botanic-garden, #invasive-species, #new-york-city, #spotted-lanternflies

More ‘Murder Hornets’ Are Being Found and Destroyed

Officials hunting the Asian giant hornet in Washington State have so far destroyed three nests, and plan to eradicate a fourth — very carefully.

#animal-and-plant-health-inspection-service, #blaine-wash, #hornets-insects, #insects, #invasive-species, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #washington-state

For States Dealing With the Spotted Lanternfly, the Policy Is No Mercy

The spotted lanternfly, an invasive species from Asia, is a voracious plant-eater and public nuisance that could cost state economies hundreds of millions of dollars.

#delaware, #invasive-species, #new-jersey, #northeastern-states-us, #pennsylvania, #spotted-lanternflies, #trees-and-shrubs

With nothing able to eat them, cane toads are eating each other

A toad sits, looking harmless.

Enlarge / Does this look like the face of someone who started off as a cannibal? Why yes, it does. (credit: REDA & CO / Getty Images)

The cane toad may be the poster animal for invasive species. Native to South America, it has been introduced to many other ecosystems in the hope it would chow down on agricultural pests. Instead, the toad has become a pest itself, most notably in Australia. Free from the predators and parasites in its native range, the toad’s poison glands have turned out to be a hazard for most species that try to eat it where it’s been introduced.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s completely free of the risk of predation. Australian cane toad tadpoles have been observed feeding on their fellow cane toad offspring. This cannibalism seems to be an evolutionary response to the lack of competing species in its invasive range, causing cane toads to turn on their remaining competition: each other. And the toad has already turned to an additional evolutionary response to try to limit the danger of cannibalism.

Only competing with themselves

From an evolutionary perspective, cannibalism can make sense as a way to limit the competition posed by other members of your species. But the research team at the University of Sydney that has tracked the cane toad’s cannibalism suggests that the species’ successful invasion of Australia has accentuated this evolutionary pressure—something that may also occur with other invasive predators. One of the marks of an invasive species is its abundance in its new range, at which point competition for limited resources becomes more likely. Cannibalism not only limits this competition but provides nutritional resources as well.

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#biology, #cane-toads, #cannibalism, #evolution, #invasive-species, #science

To Kill a Swan? Dispute Over a Bird’s Fate Ends With a Twist.

A mute swan, beloved by some, was set to be euthanized after wildlife officials deemed him dangerously aggressive. Then something unexpected happened.

#agriculture-department, #department-of-environmental-protection-nj, #invasive-species, #new-jersey, #new-jersey-division-of-fish-and-wildlife, #swans

How Bad Are U.S. Wildfires? Even Hawaii Is Battling a Surge.

It’s among the wettest places on the planet, but shifts in rainfall, invasive grasses and a housing shortage are driving a wildfire spike on the islands.

#fires-and-firefighters, #hawaii, #hawaii-the-big-island, #invasive-species, #united-states, #weather, #wildfires

Outbreak of Poisonous Browntail Moth Caterpillars Plagues Maine

The caterpillars, known as browntail moths, have tiny hairs that can cause skin rashes and even breathing issues for some people.

#browntail-moths, #butterflies-and-moths, #cape-cod-mass, #caterpillars, #invasive-species, #maine, #poisoning-and-poisons, #waterville-me

Intruder Pests May Drain Trillions From Africa’s Economies, Study Finds

Invasive species could cost the agricultural sector more than $3.5 trillion across the continent, a new study estimated.

#africa, #agriculture-and-farming, #global-warming, #invasive-species, #nigeria, #research, #weeds

What to Save? Climate Change Forces Brutal Choices at National Parks.

For decades, the core mission of the Park Service was absolute conservation. Now ecologists are being forced to do triage, deciding what to safeguard — and what to let slip away.

#acadia-national-park-me, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #environment, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #invasive-species, #national-park-service, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #wildfires

How the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Affects New York

A program to vaccinate homebound older people was put on hold while the one-shot vaccine was paused.

#invasive-species, #johnsonjohnson, #new-york-city, #sheep, #trust-for-governors-island, #vaccination-and-immunization

Unfortunately, we like pets that are likely to be invasive species

Image of a snake fighting an alligator.

Enlarge (credit: Lori Oberhofer/NPS)

In addition to being home to men with questionable decision-making skills, Florida also seems to have some issues with bizarre animal behavior, whether it’s freezing iguanas dropping from trees or alligators battling pythons in the Everglades. When it comes to those animals, however, Floridians can truly put the blame on non-natives. Neither pythons nor green iguanas made the sunshine state their home until we brought them there as pets.

In fact, there are lots of problematic invasive species that have spread through the pet trade, from predatory fish that can drag themselves between bodies of water to a crayfish that clones itself to reproduce. Those high-profile cases lead to some obvious questions, like whether pets really are more likely to be invasive and, if so, why?

Two Swiss researchers, Jérôme Gippeta and Cleo Bertelsmeier have now attempted to answer these questions. And their conclusion is that yes, our pets are more likely to be problems.

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#biology, #invasive-species, #pets, #science

Can We Patch Up the Natural World We’ve Hurt?

In “Under a White Sky,” Elizabeth Kolbert explores the human efforts to confront the effects of climate change, and all their unintended consequences.

#books-and-literature, #global-warming, #invasive-species, #kolbert-elizabeth, #under-a-white-sky-the-nature-of-the-future-book

Attack of the Murder Hornets is a nature doc shot through horror/sci-fi lens

Extreme close-up photograph of terrifying insect.

Enlarge / “What are you looking at?” The Asian Giant Hornet, aka a “murder hornet,” is not to be trifled with. (credit: Gary Alpert)

In November 2019, a beekeeper in Blaine, Washington, named Ted McFall was horrified to discover thousands of tiny mutilated bodies littering the ground: an entire colony of his honeybees had been brutally decapitated. The culprit: the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), a species native to southeast Asia and parts of the Russian far East. Somehow, these so-called “murder hornets” had found their way to the Pacific Northwest, where they posing a dire ecological threat to North American honeybee populations.

The story of the quest to track and eradicate the hornets before their numbers became overwhelming is the subject of a new documentary: Attack of the Murder Hornets, now streaming on Discovery+. Featuring genuine suspense, a colorful cast of characters crossing socioeconomic lines, and a tone that draws on classic horror and science fiction movies, it’s one of the best nature documentaries you’re likely to see this year.

Asian giant hornets are what’s known as apex predators, sporting enormous mandibles, the better to rip the heads off their prey and remove the tasty thoraxes (which include muscles that power the bee’s wings for flying and movement). A single hornet can decapitate 20 bees in one minute, and just a handful can wipe out 30,000 bees in 90 minutes. The hornet has a venomous, extremely painful sting—and its stinger is long enough to puncture traditional beekeeping suits. Conrad Berube, a beekeeper and entomologist who had the misfortune to be stung seven times while exterminating a murder hornet nest, told The New York Times, “It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh.” And while Japanese honeybees, for example, have evolved defenses against the murder hornet, North American honeybees have not, as the slaughter of McFall’s colony aptly demonstrated.

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#discovery-plus, #documentaries, #ecology, #gaming-culture, #honeybees, #invasive-species, #murder-hornets, #science

Invasive Insects and Diseases Are Killing Our Forests

America wasn’t ready for the pandemic. And it isn’t ready for the next contagion to strike our woodlands.

#agriculture-department, #epidemics, #forest-service, #forests-and-forestry, #insects, #international-trade-and-world-market, #invasive-species, #trees-and-shrubs, #united-states

It’s a New Year in the Garden, Too: Time for Some Resolutions

In advance of the growing season, it’s helpful for gardeners to acknowledge what went wrong in the previous year, and figure out what to do instead.

#flowers-and-plants, #gardens-and-gardening, #invasive-species, #new-year, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #real-estate-and-housing-residential

Menaced by Murder Hornets, Bees Decorate Their Hives With Poop

Asian honeybees have exhibited what scientists call a form of tool use to deter attacks by giant predatory wasps.

#animal-behavior, #bees, #biology-and-biochemistry, #feces, #hornets-insects, #insects, #invasive-species, #manure, #mattila-heather-rose, #public-library-of-science-plos, #research, #vietnam, #wasps-insects, #wellesley-college, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Scientists Destroyed a Nest of Murder Hornets. Here’s What They Learned.

Officials vacuumed the country’s first nest of so-called murder hornets last month in Washington State. The invasive insects could multiply and kill native bee populations, endangering crops and ecosystems.

#agriculture-and-farming, #bees, #blaine-wash, #hornets-insects, #insects, #invasive-species, #united-states, #washington-state

Murder Hornet Nest, First in U.S., Is Found in Washington State

Officials said they planned to destroy the nest in Blaine, Wash., on Saturday before the voracious Asian giant hornets could multiply and lay waste to bees.

#blaine-wash, #hornets-insects, #insects, #invasive-species, #washington-state

New England’s Forests Are Sick. They Need More Tree Doctors.

Climate change is taking a toll on woodlands in the Northeast.

#berkshires-mass, #drought, #environment, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #invasive-species, #land-use-policies, #massachusetts, #new-england-states-us, #wildfires

What My Covid-19 Hallucination Showed Me

It all began with an endless gray tunnel. And ended with a vision of how to rebuild our lives.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #ethics-personal, #international-trade-and-world-market, #invasive-species, #trees-and-shrubs

A Toxic Alien Is Taking Over Russia

The giant hogweed isn’t just an invasive plant. It’s a metaphor for what is happening to much of this country.

#flowers-and-plants, #invasive-species, #putin-vladimir-v, #rural-areas, #russia

Washington State Officials Hunt for Colony of ‘Murder Hornets’

The search has taken on particular urgency as the Asian giant hornets are about to enter their “slaughter phase,” during which they kill bees by decapitating them.

#agriculture-and-farming, #bees, #blaine-wash, #hornets-insects, #invasive-species, #washington-state

When Invasive Species Become the Meal

Is dining on nature’s predators an act of environmentalism — or just a new way for humans to bend the world to our will?

#2020-t-design, #conservation-of-resources, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #invasive-species, #lai-bun, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #oceans-and-seas, #thomas-robert-a, #wildlife-die-offs, #world-health-organization

The Dreaded Lanternbug, Scourge of Agriculture, Spreads in New Jersey

The insect poses a serious threat to American crops, particularly vineyards, and inspires creative backyard methods of eliminating them.

#helmus-matthew-r, #invasive-species, #new-england-states-us, #new-jersey, #northeastern-states-us, #ocean-grove-nj, #philadelphia-pa, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Death of a Cat

For weeks, I have been trying to understand my own tears in the presence of a dying creature I did not love.

#cats, #environment, #invasive-species

U.S. Identifies Some of the Mysterious Seeds Mailed From China

The 14 varieties identified include common ones, such as hibiscus, morning glory and lavender. Still, experts warned recipients not to plant them.

#animal-and-plant-health-inspection-service, #china, #flowers-and-plants, #frauds-and-swindling, #gardens-and-gardening, #herbs, #invasive-species, #seeds

As Summer Takes Hold, So Do the Jumping Worms

These invasive pests, which ravage the soil and damage plant life, are easiest to spot now, in their adult form. But what to do if you see them?

#gardens-and-gardening, #invasive-species, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #worms

There Are Wasps in the Yard. You’d Better Get to Know Them.

They buzz. They hover. Sometimes they sting. But how much do you really know about these insects that can menace our summers?

#animal-cognition, #content-type-service, #hornets-insects, #invasive-species, #lawns, #picnics, #summer-season, #wasps-insects, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

New Red Algae Are Threatening Hawaii’s Coral Reefs, Scientists Say

The recently discovered species covers coral in a thick layer and suffocates it. Scientists don’t know where it came from.

#algae, #coral, #hawaii, #invasive-species, #reefs, #seaweed

Majestic Icon or Invasive Pest? A War Over Australia’s Wild Horses

Scientists say the animals, known as brumbies, must be culled because they are destroying rivers and endangering native wildlife. Rural activists call these efforts an attack on Australian heritage.

#australia, #environment, #horses, #invasive-species, #rural-areas

Birds Do It. People, Too. Is Migration Simply Natural for All Species?

In her latest book, “The Next Great Migration,” the science journalist Sonia Shah traces the global movements of humans today to age-old patterns in other species.

#animal-migration, #birds, #books-and-literature, #darwin-charles-robert, #illegal-immigration, #invasive-species, #linnaeus-carl, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #shah-sonia, #tanton-john-h, #the-next-great-migration-the-beauty-and-terror-of-life-on-the-move-book

The Giant ‘Murder Hornet’ Resurfaces in British Columbia

The large invasive insect, sometimes known as the “murder hornet,” has reappeared in British Columbia, miles away from traps placed to contain it.

#asian-giant-hornet, #british-columbia-canada, #hornets-insects, #invasive-species, #washington-state

Exotic Lizards Creep Into Georgia. Don’t Expect Southern Hospitality.

State wildlife officials have warned residents to be on the lookout for the Argentine black and white tegu, an invasive lizard species that is threatening native creatures.

#florida, #georgia, #invasive-species, #lizards, #tegus

These Large Carnivorous Lizards Are Right Where They Belong

Monitor lizards, believed to be invasive species on some Pacific islands, got there long before humans, a new study says.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #invasive-species, #komodo-dragons-lizards, #lizards, #micronesia, #palau, #research, #royal-society-open-science-journal, #weijola-valter, #your-feed-science

The Arrival of the ‘Murder Hornet’

We didn’t stop the coronavirus. But perhaps we can stop the giant hornets.

#bees, #deaths-fatalities, #far-east-south-and-southeast-asia-and-pacific-areas, #hornets-insects, #insects, #invasive-species, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #washington-state

In Japan, the ‘Murder Hornet’ Is Both a Lethal Threat and a Tasty Treat

Long before the insects found their way to American shores, some Japanese prized them for their numbing crunch and the venomous buzz they add to liquor.

#hornets-insects, #hunting-and-trapping, #invasive-species, #japan