…or is it unwanted??? New York State Invasive Species disrupt native ecosystems Here are New York’s top 5 least wanted!
Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that adversely affect the natural ecosystems in the places they invade, and often affect human populations as well. Invasivesare great competitors and have few, if any, natural predators in their new-found homes. They take over with ease, making the struggle to survive that much more difficult for native species. These characteristics make it easy for invasive species to quickly become the dominant species while crowding out native species. Loss of biological diversity due to invasive species is a serious threat to natural ecosystems.
Tie-3 Round goby
Japanese beetle Tie-3
2 Emerald ash borer
1 Sea lamprey
Many species of animals and plants in New York State originated elsewhere. Some are harmless, some are beneficial, and some are real troublemakers. Some of the invasive species in our state are widely distributed, while others are concentrated in distinct areas. No place is immune from invasive species, from wilderness to the hearts of our largest cities. As we import and export goods, and as we travel, people are major players in the spread of invasives. Whether intentional or accidental, we import living plants and animals, potential invasives. When we export, our native plants and animals may become invasives in other lands.
Organism Details: Zebra mussel Zebra mussels and a related species, the Quagga mussel, are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. Adults are 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long and have D-shaped shells with alternating yellow and brownish colored stripes. Female zebra mussels can produce 100,000- 500,000 eggs per year. They are native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia and were brought over to the Great Lakes in ballast water of freighters. Populations of zebra mussels were discovered in the Great Lakes about 1988. Zebra mussels can cause problems for lakeshore residents and recreationists. Homeowners that take lake water to water lawns can have their intakes clogged. Mussels may attach to motors and possibly clog cooling water areas. Shells can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow large enough on rocks, swim rafts and ladders. Anglers may lose tackle as the shells can cut fishing line. Zebra mussels can also attach to native mussels, killing them. Zebra mussels filter plankton from the surrounding water. This filtering can increase water clarity, which might cause more aquatic vegetation to grow at deeper depths and more dense stands. If a lake has high numbers of mussels over large areas, this filter feeding could impact the food chain, reducing food for larval fish.
Organism Details: Purple loosestrife Purple loosestrife is a very hardy perennial which can rapidly degrade wetlands, diminishing their value for wildlife habitat. Wetlands are the most biologically diverse, productive component of our ecosystem. Hundreds of species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, fish and amphibians rely on healthy wetland habitat for their survival. However, when purple loosestrife gets a foothold, the habitat where fish and wildlife feed, seek shelter, reproduce and rear young, quickly becomes choked under a sea of purple flowers. Areas where wild rice grows and is harvested, and where fish spawn, are degraded.
Organism Details: Round goby The species was accidentally introduced into the North American Great Lakes by way of ballast water transfer in cargo ships. First discovered in North America in the St. Clair River in 1990, the round goby is considered an invasive species with significant ecological and economic impact;the consequences are quite complex as the fish both competes with native species and provides an abundant source of food for them while consuming other invasive species.In other words, the round goby behaves much like most biological invasive controls. An aggressive fish, the round goby outcompetes native species such as the sculpin and log perch for food (such as snails and mussels), shelter and nesting sites, substantially reducing their numbers. Round gobies are also voracious predators of eggs of native fish, many important to the angling industry. The goby's robust ability to survive in degraded environmental conditions has helped to increase its competitive advantage compared to native species. Many native predatory fish such as smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, salmon and trout have begun to prey on round gobies. These game fish feed so heavily on the abundant gobies that a bait company, called Culprit, has created a soft plastic bait called the "Great Lakes Goby" to exploit this behavior. The incorporation of the round goby into native food webs, coupled with the goby's ability to consume large numbers of invasive mussels (zebra and quagga), may result in greater bioaccumulation of toxins such as PCBs higher in the food chain, since these mussels filter-feed and are known to accumulate persistent contaminants. However, this is partly beneficial because even though they do not reduce the population of zebra mussels, they do control their population. Hence, it prevents a large scale spread of the zebra mussel, which is also an invasive species in the Great Lakes.
Organism Details: Japanese beetle The Japanese beetle is a highly destructive plant pest that can be very difficult and expensive to control. Feeding on grass roots, Japanese beetle grubs damage lawns, golf courses, and pastures. Japanese beetle adults attack the foliage, flowers, or fruits of more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants. Japanese beetles were first found in the United States in 1916 near Riverton, New Jersey. Since then Japanese beetles have spread throughout most states that lie east of the Mississippi River. However, partial infestations also occur west of the Mississippi River in states such as Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Usually infestations in states west of the Mississippi River are eradicated before the Japanese beetle becomes established.
Organism Details: Emerald ash borer The emerald ash borer (Agrilusplanipennis) was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario the same year. This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible. Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July. Signs of infection include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves. Most trees die within 2 to 4 years of becoming infested. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the destruction of over 50 million ash trees in the U.S. since its discovery in Michigan.
Organism Details: Sea lamprey In their natural habitat, sea lamprey - like salmon and alewives - are ocean fish that spawn in fresh water. But some sea lamprey have always inhabited Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, which are open to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1921, lampreys appeared in Lake Erie for the first time, arriving via the Welland Canal. From there, they rapidly colonized all of the upper Great Lakes, with especially large infestations developing in Lakes Michigan and Huron. The sea lamprey is an aggressive parasite - equipped with a tooth-filled mouth that flares open at the end of its eel-like body. When attacking, the lamprey fastens onto its prey and rasps out a hole with its rough tongue. An anticoagulant in the lamprey's saliva keeps the wound open for hours or weeks, until the lamprey is satiated or the host fish dies.