Invasive Species

Stinging needle ants overtaking invasive Argentines in U.S.

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 11, 2013   View Article

A stinging ant from Asia is spreading with a vengeance across the United States and may prove more devastating to people and the environment than the well-established aggressive Argentine ant currently is, according to new research.

“While Argentine ants cause a lot of damage, Asian needle ants are a really big health threat to humans,” Eleanor Spicer Rice, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, told NBC News.

Flushing Nemo? Pet fish pose ocean threat

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 10, 2013   View Article

Exotic and colorful aquarium fish, such as those made famous by the Disney film “Finding Nemo,” are escaping to the open ocean in real life and disrupting marine ecosystems, according to a new report on the spread of invasive species.

More than 11 million non-native aquarium fish and plants — from tropical fish to seaweed and snails, representing 102 species — are imported annually through the California ports of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the report found.

Devonian die-off teaches grim lesson

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 30, 2010   View Article

A long, long time ago — between 378 million and 375 million years ago — about half of all species on the planet vanished. The trigger for this mass extinction, one of five known in Earth’s history, was a lethal combination of sea level rise and invasive species, according to a new study.

“The basic processes that normally result in new species forming were blocked,” study author Alycia Stigall, a paleobiologist at Ohio University, told me today.

Lizards Evolving Rapidly to Survive Deadly Fire Ants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 21, 2009   View Article

Long legs and skittish behavior are recently evolved traits that allow fence lizards in the southeastern U.S. to co-exist with lethal and invasive fire ants, according to a new study.

The new findings could boost hopes for species whose habitats are quickly changing due to climate change, experts say.

Alien Beetles Tracked with “Ray Guns,” Dental Floss

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 16, 2006   View Article

Scientists are combining space-age ray guns with dental floss to get a read on how wood-boring beetles such as the Asian longhorned beetle invade new countries.

“These pests have become a problem in the last 20 years or so because of all the foreign trade,” said David Williams, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Chemical Cocktail Turns Argentine Ants Against Each Other

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 22, 2006   View Article

Scientists are developing a chemical potion that makes mortal enemies of members of a massive Argentine ant gang that has invaded California.

The cocktail, if successful, could pave the way for the return of native ants, which have been driven from the region by the foreign species, says Neil Tsutsui, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.

Alien Species Invading Antarctica, Experts Warn

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 6, 2006   View Article

Golf in Antarctica, anyone?

You can’t set a tee time just yet, but a type of grass favored for putting greens—annual bluegrass—has taken root on King George Island, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the icy continent.

Scientists are not amused.

“Sooner or later, invasive species do become a big problem,” said Maj de Poorter, an invasive-species researcher at Auckland University in New Zealand.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach