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An invasive species can be anything from plant, animal or fungus that is introduced to a non-native
habitat and has a tendency to spread to a degree that causes damage throughout the environment,
human health or economy.
In this installment, we're taking a look at 10 devastating invasive species, caused by
Zebra Mussel Small yet plentiful, the zebra mussel doesn't
just attach themselves to objects, they cover them.
The females of these species produce between 100,000 to 500,000 eggs per year, each.
Native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia, they have been brought to the Great Lakes
in the United States in the ballast water of ships.
Though they do impede other wildlife in the area, they are an especially costly problem
for surrounding cities - as the mussels clog water intakes of power plants.
Burmese Python Native throughout Southeast Asia, the Burmese
python has exploded throughout Southern Florida.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 99,000 Burmese pythons were
imported to the United States between 1996 and 2006.
Large and hungry, the python has been known to meal on a variety of creatures - both mammal
With no known natural predator on the western side of the globe, they go largely unchecked
and have even developed a nasty habit of eating small pets.
Black Rat Known commonly as the "ship rat", this creature
is directly responsible or has greatly contributed to the extinction of a vast number of species
- especially on smaller islands.
The ship rat is most commonly identified with large declines of bird populations and has
been moved around to non-native areas since man has been sailing the oceans.
They don't just stop there, however, any species of animal that is similar in weight or size
are most vulnerable to predation.
European Rabbit Sure, they're cute and fluffy, but they can
also be large pests.
The European rabbit, also called the common rabbit, has exploded in population pretty
much across the globe.
With their tendency to overpopulate, these little field-grazing hellions are nearly impossible
to keep in check.
Just to give you an example, the population of common rabbit in Australia, which is large,
is due to just 24 rabbits that an English farmer brought over back in 1859.
Northern Snakehead Fish The northern snakehead fish originally comes
from China, Korea, and Russia, and has since made its way over to North America - where
the fish outcompetes the native species for food.
Though still new and not completely established, the northern snakehead has already begun impacting
the ecosystem - as they will eat anything from other fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds
and even mammals that venture into their territory.
Nile Perch If you hadn't guessed, the Nile perch is native
to the freshwater lake and river systems throughout Africa.
However, the perch was introduced in the 1950's into one of Africa's great lakes, Lake Victoria
- and the ecosystem of the lake was in no way prepared.
The perch population boomed in the late 1980's and have since wrought havoc to the various
fish and other aquatic wildlife in the area.
Asian Tiger Mosquito Obviously, the Asian tiger mosquito is native
to parts of Asia; but in 1985, they were found in staggering numbers in Texas and were believed
to have been brought over as dormant eggs in cargo shipments.
As with all invasive species, the Asian tiger mosquito has outshone the local mosquitoes
native to the United States.
The major problem they bring is the ability to spread great diseases, such as dengue fever
and Eastern equine encephalitis, something native species weren't known to carry.
Cane Toad Not all invasive species are introduced to
their new environments by accident, in the case of the cane toad, it was brought in to
handle crop-eating pests.
Well, the toads did their job a little too well - causing them to become the new pests.
Native to South and Central America, the toad was distributed throughout Hawaii and parts
of the Caribbean and the Philippines to protect sugar cane fields.
Not just dangerous to the local wildlife, the cane toad secretes a toxin strong enough
to kill young children and those with weak immune systems.
Africanized Honey Bees (Killer Bees) Africanized honey bees, commonly known as
the killer bee, are a cross between the African honey bee (A. m. scutellata) and various types
of European honey bees, such as (A. m. ligustica) and (A. m. iberiensis).
Some of the bees escaped the grounds and began breeding with the local Brazilian honey bees,
quickly spiking their numbers and range throughout South and Central America.
Highly aggressive, the killer bee gets its name due to the way it attacks anything that
strays into its perceived territory.
To date, the accidental release of these bees have been responsible for 1,000 human deaths,
and are virtually impossible to stop, as species are able to interbreed with each other and
create new deadly hybrids.
That is.. until you see number one.
Killer Hornets Though not as dangerous to man as people like
to imagine, the Asian "killer" hornet is far more dangerous to indigenous bee species.
Though not world-wide yet, they have made their way from Japan to China and even parts
These large hornets survive by eating the larvae of honey bees... as if there isn't
enough of a problem with our bee population dying off - just 4 of these hornets are capable
of wiping out an entire colony of honey bees.