invasive species

OceanGate, Inc.

A team of scientists from  around the country recently spent two days off the coast of South Florida to investigate the explosion of lionfish.

What they found was shocking. Why?

Because there’s a war going on and the indomitable lionfish are winning.

These voracious predators are known to invade the shallows of coral reef.  They’re dangerous because they ruin the habitat and eat juvenile spiny lobsters, snappers, groupers, tarpon and bonefish - all valuable marine species humans rely on.

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

Add 'Crazy Ants' To Growing List Of Florida Invasive Species

May 28, 2013
AZRainman / Flickr Creative Commons

The giant African land snail has competition in the "strange and destructive little invasive species" department. A report released last month by University of Texas scientists shows that "crazy ants" are "invading the southeastern United States and Texas" -- including Florida. 

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Jason Leon said he has two regrets about slicing the head off the longest Burmese python recorded in Florida:

He wishes he didn’t have to slay the beast, and he wishes his bedroom walls were big enough to mount the snake’s skin.

“I’m actually really mad I had to kill it,” Leon, 23, said Monday.

“But at one point it coiled around both of my legs and my waist, and I wasn’t going to take a chance on letting that thing get to my neck.”

Mihail Halatchev

Immigrants have had a profound effect on South Florida. We all know about the influences on culture, food and language. But they changed the region's horticulture too.

Many of South Florida's plants have been brought here to improve the surrounds, provide food and shelter. Indeed, most of the plants that we consider iconic to South Florida are not native but transplants from elsewhere. Bougainvillea? It's a native of Mexico. Mangoes are originally from India. Even that most Floridian of fruits, oranges, are originally from China.

Why Florida Has The Most Invasive Species

May 10, 2013
Jeff Wright/Flickr

Florida has a big problem with invasive species, and the idea of chowing down on the pests has been gaining in popularity. So far, there’s a cookbook dedicated to lionfish, an invasive species cooking contest and even an invasive species sampler tent at The Grassroots Festival on Virginia Key this past February. 

As Lanette Sobel with the Fertile Earth Foundation said, “If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.”

Unfortunately, that tactic, however appetizing, is probably not enough to outpace the invaders wreaking havoc on Florida’s ecosystem.

How to Make Burmese Python Nuggets

May 10, 2013
Maurice Cohn Band / Miami Herald

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

BURMESE PYTHON

Origin: Southeast Asia

Some Health Risks With Eating Giant African Land Snail

May 9, 2013
Andrew Derksen, Florida Cooperative Pest Survey Program

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

wildflorida.com

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

Eating Invasive Species Comes With A Side Of Caution

May 8, 2013
David Samayoa

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

To accompany our Invasive Species Cookbook , we are also posting the potential health risks of eating certain invasive species and how to possibly mitigate those risks.

criticalmiami.com

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

How To Make Watermelon Gazpacho With Lionfish

May 7, 2013
NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

Nine Awesome Everglades Animals (Aside From The Alligator)

Apr 12, 2013
Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Is there any animal more closely associated with the Everglades than the American alligator? OK, the Burmese python has been the 'glades press "darling" as of late, but invasive, non-natives do not count for the purposes of celebrating the Everglades. While Florida's iconic reptilian king deserves all of the attention it gets, there are plenty of other cool critters that inhabit the Everglades.

Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Lionfish are the newest target of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation's (FWC) efforts to use social engagement to tackle the problem of exotic, invasives in the state. The FWC announced last week the launch of its "Lionfish Control Team" photo contest for the month of April.

Austin Evan / Flickr Creative Commons

Animal welfare advocates are at odds with wildlife conservationalists as the Florida Senate prepares this week to look at a controversial feral cat bill. 

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