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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Aural Presentation  

A follow-up on this post about NPR's "Most Loathed Invasive Species" feature:

I got an email from NPR's Science Reporter John Nielsen, letting me know that the piece has morphed into a write-up that is scheduled to debut on NPR's website during the last week of December, paired with a radio feature about the nasty new darling of invasive species media, Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata, also affectionately known as "rock snot").

John has received more than 300 lists of top five loathed invasives, so it will be interesting to hear what makes the cut. In the meantime, if you're still to get your words out, John has a new request:

if there is a species that you hate above all others and you don’t mind being quoted on the NPR web page, please send me a few lines full of bile and emotion or whatever re the species you have chosen.
Anyone game? If so, send email to jnielsen AT npr DOT org, and feel free to post your thoughts here - I'm thinking it is just too hard to narrow it down to one!

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I'll add two vile invasives to your list: Twig ants and Australian Pine Trees.

Twig ants, Pseudomyrmex gracilis, are not native to Florida. I despise fire ants too, mind you, but at least I can usually see their mound so it's my own fault when they get me (and ouch, they do!) Twig ants though, they drop out of nowhere, and you don't know one's found you until it starts to burn. Fire ant bites are horrible, painful, itchy bumps that I always end up scratching down to raw, but twig ant bites swell me up for inches and hurt and itch for a couple of days. I think they might be worse.

Austrailian Pine Trees used to be a tree I like. They tower over our native vegitation, make great shade, and the wind whistles through them in a most pleasing manner. Then I got to know them. Their fallen needles kill just about any plant growing under them, including all of those flowers I planted. They drop pollen that sticks to everything like a fine layer of brown sticky snow (that given our water restrictions we can no longer hose off of our cars, so we end up wiping it off the windshield as best as we can before driving off in the morning when it's at its peak) and my kids turned out to be allergic to it. If that isn't bad enough, the evil trees fall over in the hurricanes. They're big, dangerous, and unbelievably heavy when you're trying to haul them away in the chunks you've spent hours and days and weeks chopping up after the storm. They also sucker; new trees sprout, seemingly overnight, from the roots of the existing trees, and even the fallen and chopped down trees. The )&#(*^$ing sprouts grow upwards of a foot a month, and if you leave them alone for a heartbeat, they're too big to mow and you have to go snip them by hand. Give them a few months, and you need the chain saw to get rid of them. Then, they don't go away! The little stump you left behind sprouts a ring of new suckers all the way around the edge, like some crazy sci-fi monster. Absolutely, Australian Pine Trees should be on the evil invasive species to be hated list. My thoughts on these trees are also posted here:

By Blogger sososleepy, at 12/18/2007 01:38:00 PM  

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