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.
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!
European Honey Bee Asian Honey Bee Bumble Bee Crazy Yellow Ant Red Fire Ant European Wasp Argentine Ant and more!
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.
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.
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!
Asian Carp Brown Trout Rosy barb
Common Carp European perch Tilapia Mosquitofish and more!
House Sparrow Indian Myna Common Starling Eurasian Blackbird Mallard
Common Pheasant Spotted Dove Feral Pigeon Eurasian Skylark European Greenfinch and more!
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)