Thursday, December 27, 2007

Loathe To Admit

NPR is out with their list of the Five Most Despised Invasive Species, compiled from a poll of the Ecological Society of America and probably a few of you readers as well:

  • zebra mussel
  • cheatgrass
  • Chinese mitten crab
  • fire ant
  • feral pig
I've gone ahead and compiled our own tiny data set from the blog comments [see here and here]. We managed to gather a pretty wide variety of loathed creatures for such a small data set! With a mere 8 contributors, this data has no real scientific value and is merely for our own interest:
  • Most loathed species: A tie for 3 votes each between mute swan and garlic mustard
  • Number of species in common with the NPR list: 2 [zebra mussel and fire ant]
  • Total number of organism types represented: 9
  • Organism types, ranked by number of votes:
    1. plants [10 votes]
    2. arthropods [insects etc., 9 votes]
    3. birds [6 votes]
    4. fish [4 votes]
    5. mammals [3 votes]
    6. bivalves [zebra mussel, 2 votes]
    7. reptiles [2 votes]
    8. algae [1 vote]
    9. annelids [worms, 1 vote]
  • Organism types, ranked by number of different species voted for (not much different, but I thought you'd like to see the master list):
    1. plants [Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), buckthorn (glossy and common, Frangula alnus and Rhamnus frangula), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), ginkgo (Gingko biloba), Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), spotted knapweed (Centaurea beibersteinii), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)]
    2. arthropods [cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), German cockroach (Blatella germanica), spongy moth (Lymantria dispar), harlequin ladybug (Harmonia axyridis), hemlock wooly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), house fly (Musca domestica), twig ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)]
    3. birds [house crow (Corvus splendens), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), Javan mynah (Acridotheres javanicus), mute swan (Cygnus olor)]
    4. fish [carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, among several other genera), guppy (Lebistes reticulatus), Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), northern snakehead (Channa argus)]
    5. mammals [black rat (Rattus rattus), feral cat (Felis catus), Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)]
    6. reptiles [brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)]
    7. bivalves [zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)]
    8. algae [didymo (Didymosphenia geminata)]
    9. annelids [European earthworm (Eisenia hortensis, among other genera)]


Paul D. said...

Hmmm never thought of Gingko as being invasive. Also I'd add a vote for the starling...make that two votes.

Jennifer Forman Orth said...

Hee hee...I was wondering if anyone would notice that one. As far as I know, ginkgo is not invasive anywhere, though it is certainly widely planted as a street tree, and the fruits can be kind of stinky.

Perhaps the lister of ginkgo will choose to speak up about its status as a "loathsome invasive" :-).

Yes on the starlings, I am surprised they did not get more votes.

BerryBird said...

Too funny! I was going to ask about Gingko, too.