Posts Tagged ‘Introduced species’

Ants which adapt to human behaviour are considered a threat

August 14, 2013

Why do we penalise successful species and protect the failures? Almost as if we we wish to deny evolution by ensuring the survival of those which don’t deserve to survive.

If Giant Pandas were not as disinterested as they seem to be in reproducing themselves and as specialised in eating only a few species of bamboo, but instead were immensely successful in increasing their own numbers, then we would no doubt be organising Panda culls. But since they are an almost perfect example of a species bent on its own extinction we go to all possible lengths to keep them going!

Yet another story where a successful species which adapts to and make use of humans and human behaviour is then considered a “threat”. Unsuccessful species of course would become “endangered” and would then be protected!

BBCThe problem of invasive ants may be far worse than previously thought. 

A Spanish team of scientists has found that larger than expected numbers of the insects are being unwittingly shipped around the world. The researchers warn that many of these species are establishing colonies in their new habitats that could pose a threat to the environment, infrastructure and human health. The research is published in the journal Royal Society Biology Letters.

Lead author Veronica Miravete, from the University of Gerona in Spain, said: “Due to their small size, most ants are transported involuntarily in containers and other boxes, together with soil, wood, ornamental plants and fruits etc, on ships or airplanes.”

The research team looked at the numbers of exotic ants in the Netherlands, the United States and New Zealand.

Fire ant

They found far more of these accidental stowaways than had previously been reported.

Extrapolating from this data, they estimate that 768 exotic ant species could have been introduced around the world through trade routes.

Of these, they believe that more than 600 species could have established new colonies.

Dr Miravete said: “The number of ants arriving is very large and 85% of the introduced species are able to establish successfully. This indicates that there are many introduced species that are living around us as of yet undetected.”

While not all animals that move to a new region pose a threat, some can wreak havoc – and invasive ants are some of the worst alien offenders.

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So much for biodiversity!

November 16, 2010
Procambarus clarkii taken near a lake in Giron...

Red Swamp Crayfish: Image via Wikipedia

Spain is preparing to rid its shores of foreign species of plants and animals that are considered a danger to the ecosystem says The Telegraph.

Successful species which threaten weaker species but which are considered “foreign” are to be eliminated by human intervention – and all in the name of biodiversity!

An exhaustive list of non-native species has been targeted for control or eradication by Spain’s Environment Ministry to protect the country’s own flora and fauna.

The inventory of 168 “alien invaders” that were introduced accidentally or deliberately to the Iberian Peninsula and are now not welcome includes the American mink and raccoon, which found their way from commercial fur farms into Spain’s countryside where their population has boomed.

Other species have been introduced intentionally but are deemed a threat to native varieties. The Zebra Mussel and Red Swamp Crayfish have both been identified as causing serious harm to indigenous species and habitats and with causing “a negative impact on agricultural production”.

The Ruddy Duck, introduced to Europe as an ornamental species, is one of the worst culprits because of its aggressive courting behaviour and willingness to interbreed with endangered, native duck species.

Besides the impact on biodiversity and agriculture some species can also cause problems for human health.

The Asian Tiger mosquito originally native to areas of south-east Asia has in the last couple of decades invaded many countries because of increasing international travel and transport of goods. The insect is a vector for Chikungunya fever which can cause severe illness in humans. Invasive plants species, such as the Galenia pubescens and Water hyacinth are choking the sand dunes of southern Spain and clogging water courses.

But not all foreign species are considered a threat. The draft proposal includes a measure that will exempt from extermination those species considered beneficial to the environment. The Barbary Sheep, native to North Africa and introduced to a national park in Murcia, will be offered protection. Certain fish species, notably carp, pike and bass, will be restocked in the rivers Ebro and Tagus.


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