National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Today marks the start of National Invasive Species Awareness Week 21 Feb to 27 Feb 2016.

According to the Invasive Species Council, Australia has one of the worst  animal extinction rates in the world, and this is mainly due to invasive species.

Many of our native animals have been either wiped out or decimated to the point of becoming critically endangered due to the introduction of foreign creatures, as well as many non native weeds taking over the habitat of many threatened species. There are also exotic viruses that severely affect our trees and plants as well as animals.

Here is a list I compiled from my research on the ways in which invasive species can affect our native wildlife –

  • compete with native animals for food and habitat
  • hunt and kill native animals
  • cause soil erosion
  • damage vegetation
  • ruin water quality
  • transmit diseases to native animals
  • displace native animals
  • attract introduced predators who then prey upon native animals
  • native plants struggle to thrive if being eaten or damaged by invasive species
  • as introduced species have few, if any, predators, their numbers can quickly grow out of control thereby exacerbating all of the above

Today, I hope to highlight some of the invasive species Australia has – some you may know, others may surprise you.

Mammals

     

European Wild Rabbit      European Red Fox      Feral Camels      Feral Cats      House Mouse

Feral Goats      Feral Deer      Brumbies       Feral Pigs      Feral Water Buffalo      Brown Hare                 and more!

Insects

Crazy Yellow Ant
Bumble Bee
European Wasp

European Honey Bee      Asian Honey Bee      Bumble Bee     Crazy Yellow Ant      Red Fire Ant       European Wasp      Argentine Ant       and more!

Weeds

A common weed found in Australia is Patterson’s Curse. Although it may look pretty, it is toxic and can be deadly to grazing livestock.

Patterson’s Curse

There are way too many invasive weeds to list them all here, but you can see a full list of national weeds and state by state lists on the government’s website.

Diseases & Parasites

The Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Disease is a deadly fungus that affects frogs. This disease has caused a decline in amphibians around the world by around 30%.

The Beak And Feather Disease (psittacine circoviral disease) is a fatal disease affecting parrots and causes malformation of feathers, beaks and claws.

Beak and Feather Disease
Beak and Feather Disease

Mundulla Yellows is a fatal disease with symptoms of yellow leaves that affects eucalypts and other native plants. Only found about 20 years ago and already spread around the country, this disease kills the trees and plants within a few years.

Myrtle Rust affects shrubs and trees such as Callistemons, Melaleucas and Eucalypts. Infection of young trees could possibly alter the balance of species in the environment.

And there are more!

Myrtle Rust
Myrtle Rust

 

Fish

Asian Carp      Brown Trout      Rosy barb     

Common Carp      European perch      Tilapia      Mosquitofish     and more!

 

Birds

House Sparrow      Indian Myna      Common Starling      Eurasian Blackbird      Mallard

Common Pheasant      Spotted Dove      Feral Pigeon      Eurasian Skylark      European Greenfinch       and more!

Other Creatures

 

Black Portuguese Millipede      Cane Toad      House Gecko      Northern Pacific Seastar      and more!

Our native wildlife is precious. If you suspect you have discovered an invasive species in your area, do the right thing and look it up to find out if it needs to be reported and managed.

This is just a brief overview of the various invasive species we have in Australia. How many were you aware of?

(Disclaimer – The photos included in this post do not belong to me and have been used for illustration purposes only)

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “National Invasive Species Awareness Week

  1. Thanks Sue for making us more aware of the invasive species that are destroying our wildlife and the habitats of our wildlife. It makes me wonder why so many of these creatures have been allowed to flourish here. I know they got rid of many Buffalo on the top end to preserve the Kakadu NP but there are so many more creatures even camels ( they say there are more wild camels in Australia than the middle-east). We are finding even our native Noisy Miner is becoming invasive like the Common Myna and excluding and injuring other native species by its ‘ganging up’ techniques. One of your Queensland scientists was in contact last year and doing studies on this.

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    1. Thanks William. Until I had researched this topic, I had little idea myself as to all the different species that have been introduced here, as well as the many different ways they can affect our native animals and their habitats. I’d be interested as to the findings on the research you mentioned about the noisy miners, so I will keep an eye out for that in the future. I do see that kind of bullying behaviour amongst those birds here, they seem to have little or no fear of anything. I see them pick on much bigger birds like magpies and currawongs quite often and fly after them on many occasions.

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      1. Yes Sue as I shared into book the miner is a community bird and uses strength in numbers to carve out a territory for itself. Driving away not only the less violent honeyeaters that compete for food but also the much stronger carnivors whit threaten them and their young. I have seen decal huge eagles being chased by Noisy Miners. This is why we lack variety on our garden birds that we once had when I was a boy.

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