Friday, August 29, 2008

Small Craft Advisory

KPBS in California is reminding listeners who might be thinking of heading out onto the water this Labor Day weekend to keep a mindful eye on their boating equipment. With the recent discoveries of both quagga and zebra mussels in their state, California boaters are being asked to keep their boats free of potential invasive species, and that means inspecting and cleaning them from trailer to hull. It also means thinking twice before jumping from one body of water to another - officials are asking boaters to instead wait five days between launching sites. Good advice for anyone with a boat or personal watercraft.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shaking The Trees

The story of the brown tree snake's (Boiga irregularis) decimation of the birds of Guam has been well documented in invasive species literature (and here at the ISW as well). But now, word comes from The Washington Post that the impact of the introduced snakes is being felt much farther down the food chain. A graduate student at the University of Washington has done research indicating that the typical distribution of trees with bird-dispersed fruits has been thrown completely out of whack (instead of being spread out across the island, new trees grow right around the parent plant) across Guam, because, as you can guess, nothing is around to disperse the fruits. This is sure to have implications for the population biology of the plant species being impacted, and could threaten the longevity of certain species by causing an increase in inbreeding. More details about the research are available in this article from UW News.

Thanks to Julie A. for sending in a link to this story.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Freedom Of Association

The Telegraph is reporting that hundreds of invasive crayfish have been found dead in the UK...but that's not a good thing. The Turkish crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus) is an Eastern European species that has been introduced to the UK, one of at least four non-native crayfish in UK waters. The recent deaths of the Turkish crustacean have been attributed to a disease called "crayfish plague" caused by the fungus Aphanomyces astaci. Scientists are worried that this fungal pathogen could spread to the UK's one native species, the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes). The invasive Marmorkrebs crayfish also carry the disease. Unfortunately, the North American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) appears to be immune.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mass Beetle

The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) was discovered last week in Worcester, Massachusetts, the first sighting of the species in Massachusetts (or in any of New England). Taking calls all day from concerned folks has got me beat, so rather than generating new content here, I'm going to be lame and link to this pest alert, and also decent coverage of the story from NECN.

If you think you have seen an Asian longhorned beetle in Massachusetts, I encourage you to submit a report (and maybe a photo) on the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project website.

Update 8/8/08: The ALB has been "rediscovered" in Chicago - just a single specimen - calling the declaration of eradication into question. Scientists are not sure yet if this is a new infestation. Read more from the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Add Wisconsin to the list of states the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) calls home...for now anyway. The Wisconsin Ag Connection, KARE 11 News, and others are reporting that EAB trapping surveys revealed the beetle's presence in Ozaukee County, which is north of Milwaukee.

Just last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer in Ottawa, Ontario...and a few weeks before that, we had the sightings in Virginia, and Quebec. It's no wonder that Minnesota is so worried.

For a whole slew of ISW posts about the emerald ash borer, just click on the tag below...

(Thanks to David S. for sending in a link to the Ottawa story!)

Monday, August 04, 2008

You Can Lead A Snake To Water...

An NAS Alert just came through that the Northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon), a species known only in the eastern half of North America, has been found in California. A 2007 publication in the journal Herpetological Review indicates that a breeding population has been established near Sacramento. It is likely that this was the result of someone was keeping the snakes as pets and decided to let them go in the wild. Now, California already has a Southern water snake (Nerodia fasciata), which begs the question: will they hybridize?