From the category archives:

Land

White Man’s Foot

August 20, 2012

When was the term invasive species first used? It could have been 1891, when an article in The Indian Forester noted, “As [purple loosestrife] can exist under different climatic conditions and is an invasive species, it has extended far beyond its original home.” Or has a much earlier usage been hiding in plain sight all [...]

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    Dandelion

    June 11, 2012

    You look out over your lawn and curse. The dandelion is back again, doing what it does best: invading. And yet it’s so common now that you may be surprised to learn it’s not a native species––it’s one of the 2,000…

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      Curly Dock

      June 9, 2012

      Stare out across the empty lots and fields on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, and you will see scattered clumps of dark green leaves towering above the grass. In spring the…

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        Green Iguana

        April 25, 2012

        These days, a January cold snap in Miami means nights when it rains iguanas. Down from sea grapes and buttonwood trees large, green, tree-dwelling invaders fall–––because they’re…

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          Kudzu

          November 19, 2011

          Kudzu was first brought to the U.S. by Japan, which promoted it as an ornamental and as a forage crop at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. By 1900, its fragrant grape-scented purple flowers…

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            Troublesome Weeds

            October 18, 2011
            Thumbnail image for Troublesome Weeds

            Although many Americans grow greens for spring and summer salads, there are numerous exotic species–relished in their native lands but abundantly ignored here–that require…

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              Land

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              Garden Snail

              Deliberately or accidentally, by the movement of plants and by hobbyists who collect snails, humans have spread the garden snail to temperate and subtropical zones around the world.


                EAT ME!
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                Prickly Pear

                Fall is here, and the “cactus fig” is in season. Time to plate-up another widespread invader.


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                  Sow Thistle

                  It’s spring and time to weed. Sow thistle is a delicious invader found throughout the continent.


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                    Lamb’s Quarters

                    Lamb’s quarters was a popular spring tonic in the South—an early season edible green—but its leaves are good throughout the summer.       Chenopodium album Native range: Described by Linnaeus in 1753, this European native has been transferred throughout much of the world. Because its spread was rarely recorded, C. album‘s native and invasive [...]


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                      Garlic Mustard

                        Alliaria petiolata Native range: Europe, Asia, Northwest Africa Invasive range: Much of the Lower 48, Alaska, and Canada. (See map.) Habitat: Moist, shaded soil of floodplains, forests, roadsides, edges of woods, and forest openings. Often dominant in disturbed areas. Description: Biennial herb. First-year plant has a rosette of green leaves close to the ground. [...]


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                        Sea

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                        Asian Shore Crab

                        The first sighting of the Asian shore crab in the United States was at Townsend Inlet, Cape May County, New Jersey, in 1988. Though the source is unknown . . .


                          EAT ME!
                          Periwinkles

                          Periwinkle

                          The common periwinkle, which first appeared in New England in the 1860s, is now found along the coast wherever there’s hard substrate–rocks, riprap, broken concrete, or docks–from Labrador to . . .


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                            Lionfish

                            Some say it started in 1992 in Miami when Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank. Don’t blame the weather, others say; in the mid-nineties, disappointed yet softhearted hobbyists…


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                              Wakame

                                Undaria pinnatifida Native range: Japan Sea Invasive range: Southern California, San Francisco Bay, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Argentina Habitat: Opportunistic seaweed, can be found on hard substrates including rocky reefs, pylons, buoys, boat hulls, and abalone and bivalve shells. Description: Golden brown seaweed, growing up to nine feet. Forms thick canopy. Reproductive sporophyll in [...]


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                                Green Crab

                                Since the green crab was first recorded off southern Massachusetts in 1817, it has been hard to ignore. A few minutes of rock-flipping in Maine can turn up dozens of them, brandishing their claws as they retreat…


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                                  Fresh

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                                  Watercress

                                    Nasturtium officianale Native Range: Northern Africa, Europe, temperate Asia, and India Invasive Range: In USA: all lower 48 states, except North Dakota. Found in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Also southern Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Australasia, and parts of tropical Asia. Habitat: Common along stream margins, ditches, and other areas with [...]


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                                    Crayfish

                                      There are numerous invasive crayfish. We include details for the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and the rusty crayfish (Orenectes rusticus). The same recipes can be used for both species–and many other invasive crayfish. Red Swamp Crayfish Native range: Known as Louisiana crayfish, crawdad, and mudbug, Procambarus clarkii is native to the south central [...]


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                                      Northern Snakehead

                                      His sister was ailing, and the man in Maryland remembered that, back home in Hong Kong, there was a fish that was considered a delicacy and a restorative. He would make a fish soup…


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                                        Bullfrog

                                        “They live in a wide variety of habitats, colonize new ones readily, and eat everything that fits into their mouths,” says Dr. Peter Moyle of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC-Davis…


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                                          Common Carp

                                          For a bottom-feeder, what is the good life? The common carp isn’t very demanding: any body of water that’s sluggish and murky will do. One catching sewage or…


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                                            Field Notes

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                                            Can Markets Handle Invasive Species?

                                            Marketing campaigns are underway to spur demand for the flaky white fillets of lionfish. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation has published a cookbook in an attempt to get people to realize that lionfish is an option for dinner. Whole Foods has hosted “Take a Bite Out of Lionfish”: live filleting and cooking demos and lionfish [...]


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                                              Defeating Invaders by Eating Invaders

                                              In some biology classes, students read about invasive species. Last week, in professor Joe Roman’s course, Marine Ecology and Conservation, his students were eating them. Read more here.


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                                                Invaders on the Rise

                                                During the last 200 years, the number of new invasive species has increased worldwide, with more than a third of all first introductions recorded between 1970 and 2014. More new invasions are expected among all groups of species in the near future, with the exception of mammals and fishes. Read the study here.


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                                                  Burn the Invaders

                                                  Marabu is an invasive plant that has taken over much of Cuba’s abandoned farm lands. Artisinal charcoal from the tree is now the first legal export from Cuba to the United States in more than 50 years. Read more about the plan here.


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                                                    Pests for Dinner

                                                    New Scientist reports on the annual dinner at the Explorers Club in New York. Gene Rurka, the club’s resident chef, served grilled lionfish, Asian carp sushi, and iguana meatballs with a plum dipping sauce. An actual iguana splayed out on a bed of greens made a feral centerpiece. “I see this as a way of [...]


                                                      EAT ME!

                                                      You have to be clear about [eating invasives]. Extinction is a happy ending.

                                                      Bill Walton, Auburn University, in Audubon, 2004