Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fishy Freefall

Are you ready for tonight's Dropping of the Carp? Oh, to be in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on this New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A "Colorful" Scourge

AP Article about peacocks taking over Longboat Key in Florida. Click for the environmental message, stay for the references to poop-filled pools and the propensity of peacocks to attack shiny cars.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Some Light Holiday Reading

New from the Bureau of Reclamation: Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species. Who knew there was such a thing as an "Under-vehicle inspection mirror"?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Popping Parakeets

With the headline "Who's a pretty dead boy?" the Times UK announces a ruling allowing the British public to shoot ring-necked parakeets without a permit on their own property. Ring-necked parakeets (Psittacula krameri), native to India, were introduced to Britain about 40 years ago. These escapees from the pet trade have since become a part of many parks and other open spaces.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guam and Coqui

A coqui frog was intercepted on a shipment of plants on its way into Guam from Hawaii. Looks like the frog was caught at the border, so Guam for now remains coqui-free.

Massive Mussels

Zebra mussels, already in one Massachusetts lake, have now been found in the Housatonic River. A report detailing the finds also places ten other water bodies at high risk for invasion.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sniff, Ubu, Sniff! Good Dog!

Proof that dogs can do anything: Biosecurity officers in Australia have trained a labrador retriever to sniff out populations of the invasive South American electric ant (Wasmannia auropunctata). The article has a gallery of accompanying photos that claim to show "Ofira the electric ant dog" in action but are really just incredibly cute shots of the dog playing fetch (well, ok, there are a couple of shots of the ants too :-)).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bleached Pond

Wisconsin is preparing to bleach their Louisiana crayfish (crawfish? crawdads? :-)) out of existence. The invasive crustacean in question is the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), in case you're wondering.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dog The Bounty Hunter

Aussie pup sniffs out, hunts down invasive red-eared slider turtles in Victoria. Good dog!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pay To Play Against The Rules

A man caught violating regulations that require boaters to allow their vehicles to be inspected by park staff was fined $2500 earlier this month. The rules are in place at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in order to prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels into Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir located in between Utah and Arizona.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vermont Is For Pacus

Employees of a Vermont power company pulled a 2.5lb pacu fish out of Otter Creek earlier this month. What was the large, South American cousin of the piranha doing in New England? Perhaps searching for a good microbrew? ;-)

P.S. - be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the NAS Alert page to see the pacu pics!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beached Wail

Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) was found in Maryland earlier this month. Wonder how far up the Atlantic coast this invader could go? (tip of the virtual hat to IPANE)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snake Attack

Are Giant Invasive Snakes using Florida as a stepping stone for a US takeover? (scroll down to see the full report, or click here)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heard Through The Grapevine

A European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) has been found in Napa Valley, California, the first find of this pest in the USA (via InvasiveInfo).

Fuel Sells

Jatropha as a biofuel in Kenya hasn't quite panned out, NPR has the story.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Greeking Out

The first prosecution under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act has led to a $3 million fine and a 3-year ban from US waters for Greek shipping company Polembros. Some of the funds will go towards marine invasives research/

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hydrilla Redux

The invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) has been found in Damariscotta Lake in Maine. This is the second known site for hydrilla in that state. The infestation was found by a volunteer invasive plant monitor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kanadian Kudzu

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) has been found in Canada, a 6000 square meter patch in Ontario, on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Snakes In The Mail

Man who mailed a python (yes, a PYTHON) to Guam to be sentenced tomorrow:

Friday, September 11, 2009


Invasive Australian pines (Casuarina spp.) hybridizing in Florida, but apparently not in native Australia. Makes biocontrol development tricky. Via ARS News.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Musseling Into Texas

Zebra mussels have been found in another Texas lake; officials are concerned the mussels are entering river systems in northern part of state (thanks to W^2 for the tip :-)).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soldiering On

Water soldier (Stratiotes aloides), an aquatic plant species native to Europe, has escaped ponds and aquariums to invade Canada's Trent River. Treatment is underway on the more than 20,000 plants that have been found so far.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Spotting Knapweed

Read about one man's attempts to manually control spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa, C. biebersteinii, C. stoebe ssp. micranthos, etc. etc.) in a wildlife sanctuary in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Clamoring For More

Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) have been found for the first time in South Dakota. The clams were discovered in Lewis and Clark Lake, in the southeast tip of the state.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cell Invasion Biology

The Center for Embedded and Networked Sensing (CENS) has come up with a cool way to use smartphones to quickly and easily link GPS data to photos and store that data so that it can be mapped. The National Park Service is now using the technology to record locations of invasive plants in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The World In Your Oyster Bed

A new study published in the journal Oecologia reveals that California oyster beds are under attack from introduced species, including Atlantic snails and the European green crab.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fried Lionfish - Mmmmm!

The Climate Shifts blog has an excellent post about invasive lionfish in the Caribbean, including links to recipes and preparation tips, in case you'd like to try eating these poisonous fish them out of existence. (Thanks budak!)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mass Mussel Mania

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) have been found for the first time in the state of Massachusetts. The mussels were found by an alert citizen swimming in Laurel Lake in the town of Lee, located in the western part of the state.

Friday, July 03, 2009


ARS News has the results of a study showing that aerial spraying of herbicide on leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) on ranchland led to increased populations of the spurge and had a decade-plus impact on the native plant species there. The study looked at the after effects of a one-time application of the herbicide - presumably, more spraying would lead to a reduction in the amount of spurge, but would also further negatively impact the native plant species.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ant Then? Ant Then?

BBC News is reporting that Argentine ants have now formed a global "mega-colony" with representation on several continents.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rocky Horror

A guy in New York is celebrating today because his ginormous, so-ugly-its-cute pet snakehead fish, named "Rocky," has been given a reprieve by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. As long as he applies for a permit (and pays the $500 permit fee), he can keep Rocky in a tank.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has been found in Western New York.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

School's In For Summer

Thirty-five college students are lucky enough to attend "Invasive Species" summer school in Ontario, Canada this year. The students will be trained to do invasive species outreach and monitoring.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oregon Trailers

Oregon is casting a wary eye on boaters coming from zebra mussel-infested states, and is watching for other invaders as well.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bagging The Birds

DNR in Maryland says that mute swans have to go, egg addling and killing of adult swans to continue.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Talk About The Weatherfish

A new population of the Oriental weatherfish (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) has been found in New York. While there was a population in western NY that has been known since 2005, the one discovered last May is located in the southeastern tip of the state, in the Dwaar Kill.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Parking Violation

If California has problems with invasive plants now, what would happen if it closed all of its state parks?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

St. Pauli Beetle?

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has been found in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first occurrence of the invasive beetle in that state. The infestation was found by a tree care company that found the larvae in ash trees and reported it to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Read the official press release here, and for instant updates, follow the MDA's Twitter feed or their Facebook updates.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Stalk Marketing

A recent study done by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) indicates that the longer a plant is cultivated, the more likely it is to become naturalized. The study was done using nursery catalogs starting from back in the late 1800s. Is length of time available for sale a strong factor in determining whether a species will become invasive? Read the full research article in Ecology, if you have a subscription.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tex Messaging

Texas Parks and Wildlife is reporting that a zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) was found in Lake Texoma earlier this April. Lake Texoma has already had four documented near misses, where boats with zebra mussels were prevented from entering the water. The state is asking everyone to keep an eye out for the invasive bivalves and to report any sightings to 1-800-792-4263 (or in Oklahoma call 1-405-521-3721).

P.S. - If you had subscribed to the ISW Twitter feed, you would have found out about zebra mussels in TX hours and hours ago.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rocky Mountain Hi!

Dr. Sharlene Sing sent in this unique summer job opportunity for students with a penchant for destroying invasive species and hiking the wilds of the Western US:

The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station – Weed Biocontrol Team seeks biological science technicians to support our ongoing field, lab, garden and greenhouse research projects. These positions are available only to students currently enrolled in a college/university degree program who are U.S. citizens. This work is physically demanding and frequently involves working long hours, driving to remote field sites, hiking and working in rough terrain, and exposure to extremes of weather. Lodging and per diem costs will be covered when occasional overnight travel is required. Housing while at the duty station (Bozeman) is not provided. Applicants should have a valid driver’s license, and an interest or prior work experience in weed/vegetation/range/wildlife management, biology, ecology, botany, entomology, horticulture, or related area. Salary is commensurate with training and experience (GS-03 = $11.74/hr, GS-04 = $13.18/hr, GS-5 = $14.74/hr). Please contact Dr. Sharlene Sing, ssing AT for further information about these positions.

To apply, submit: 1) a transcript (=screen capture image of transcript), 2) a resume (=year, date-to-date employed, where you worked, what you did, hours worked/week), 3) a confirmation letter from your university that you are eligible and/or enrolled for the Fall 2009 term, and 4) the names and phone numbers of three references to Donna Marchwick (dmarchwick AT Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 1648 S. 7th Avenue, Bozeman MT 59717-2780 (phone: 406-994-4852; fax: 406-994-5916).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy 7th Bloggiversary!

Today is the 7th Bloggiversary of the ISW. You might have noticed there is not as much blogging going around here compared to last year - that's because I've been pretty busy with more official, Massachusetts-centric blogging duties over at the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Blog, as well as the maintenance of the MIPOP website and the Massachusetts Asian longhorned beetle Cooperative Eradication Program website. The ISW is not going anywhere, but the daily posting frequency has evolved to more of a weekly thing. To stay abreast of breaking invasive species news stories as they happen, consider subscribing to the ISW Twitter feed.

Chicago XIV

Chicago has started off its spring planting season with a list...of things *not* to plant. As reported in Medill Reports, the Chicago Department of Environment has banned the import, sale, or possession of fourteen new plant species, including several common ornamentals such as princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa) and chocolate vine (Akebia quinata). Both businesses and private growers could be subject to fines if caught with the offending plants. To read the entire city regulation, including the original list of invasive plants and animals, click here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Goes Native

After five years of research and deliberation, officials in Maryland and Virginia have decided against plans to replenish the Chesapeake Bay's oyster bed by reseeding it with Asian oysters (Crassostrea ariakensis). Instead, looks like they will be focusing their efforts on the native C. virginiensis. This article in The Baltimore Sun indicates that there is still a chance of some limited testing with the Asian oysters in the future.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Anty Herbal

Interesting note over at Ketzel Uprooted about an herbal treatment for aches and pains that is supposedly an excellent repellent for red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). According to Ketzel, a blurb in the latest issue of Hortideas says that Feng Yu Jing, a blend of camphor, menthol, methyl salicylate and other ingredients, somehow staves off the nasty little insects. No info on the how and why, unfortunately.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quaker Notes

Some invasive species are definitely best kept indoors. Take, for example, the Quaker parakeet (monk parrot, Myiopsitta monachus) featured in this Yahoo! News story. The adorable bird, named Willie, recently saved the life of a little girl by screaming "Mama! Baby!" until the babysitter came into the room and realized that the girl was choking. Luckily girl and parrot are both okay. Something tells me Willie got an extra treat that day, and some scratchies, too :-). If this story isn't already sweet enough for you, check out Cute Overload!'s version of the story, which comes with extra shots of cute Quakers.

Friday, March 27, 2009


A couple of ISW readers sent in a link to this CNN video about the latest trend in foot care: letting fish eat the dead skin off your feet. The fish in question, charmingly called "Doctor Fish" are Garra rufa, a species in the Carp family. This method of foot care has actually been around for a few years now, probably longer in Asia. But now that it has made its way to the USA, federal and state officials are keeping a watchful eye. It is currently legal to import the fish into the country, but as the video warns, it's definitely not okay to release them into the wild. Some states, including Maryland, have also gone the extra mile of banning the practice of these fishy foot treatments. See action shot below...

Fish Spa by weegolo, via Flickr

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fighting With Fungus

ARS News has a blurb about research efforts by ARS scientists that aim to find more efficient, reliable ways to select pathogens that will be good biological controls to fight invasive plants. Using a combination of DNA sequencing and a measurement of reaction of the plants to the pathogen, the researchers were able select pathogens that were the most species-specific, thereby narrowing down the time and resources needed to find the best biocontrol candidates. For some reason, ARS News doesn't link to the article the blurb is about, but there is an abstract elsewhere on their website. I will post a direct link to the article, which is published in the April 2009 issue of the journal Biological Control, as soon as Elsevier's website is back online :-).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Out Of Biocontrol

An excellent piece in the Salt Lake City Weekly about the current furor over the impact that a beetle released to attack invasive tamarisk shrubs (Tamarix spp., saltcedar) is having on an endangered bird. Seems the releases of leaf beetle Diorhabda elongata as a biocontrol were a lot more successful than people had anticipated, often leading to massive tamarisk defoliations that left the nests of the Southwestern willow flycatcher completely exposed. Add to that some miscommunication between state and federal agencies and the tendency of tamarisk to take over wide swarths of riparian land, and you've got...a complicated situation.

Tip of the virtual hat to the Aridzona Weed News Forum for posting a link to this article.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


A cutely worded article in The London Times reminds that, yes, even royalty must succumb to the rules of The Galapagos, as Prince Charles and his wife arrive for a tour of South America and are thoroughly fumigated before deplaning, so as to prevent any hitchhiking organisms or pathogens from further contributing to invasive species problems that plague the islands.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Aquarama Clamor

Attendees at Aquarama 2009, this year's International Ornamental Fish and Accessories Exhibition, will be treated to a special one-day conference about invasive species organized by the trade association Ornamental Fish International. The conference will feature speakers from across the world, covering topics from the aquarium industry as an invasive species pathway to the approach that different coutnries take to dealing with invaders. The bad news (for me anyway) - Aquarama is all the way in Singapore. If you're in the neighborhood or up for the flight, register here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ask The Invasive Species Expert

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is hosting an "Ask Today's Expert" forum that aims to bring the environment into the public consciousness. As luck would have it, today and tomorrow feature invasive species expert Michael Browne, eagerly awaiting your queries about the "Role of Information Exchange for Effective Responses to Biological Invasions." Go on, go ask him a question!

Update: Mr. Browne's time as an UNEP expert was brief, but fear not - you can view all the questions plus his responses here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today that the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was discovered in central Pennsylvania. Until now, the EAB had been confined to five counties on the western edge of the state. The beetle's discovery in Mifflin County means a new quarantine zone for Pennsylvania. No word yet on how or when the beetle was found.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Constant Conference

Some interesting invasive species conferences either happening soon or recently announced:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Sadlands

The Nature Conservancy has summarily dismantled what had to be one of the best and most prolific resources for invasive species information on the internet, the Global Invasive Species Team. That means no more newsletters, no new website updates, no support for the palmtop computer-based Weed Information Management System, and, most likely, no new Element Stewardship Abstracts. It also means that several people dedicated to making it just a little easier for everyone to deal with invasive species have lost their jobs. Hopefully the Weed Control Methods Handbook, the voluminous Management Library, Rod Randall's massive weed database, and other tools, housed on UC Davis servers, will remain live for the long term. Read the details here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mother May I?

Mother Jones has an interesting article this month titled "What Invasive Species Are Trying to Tell Us." It covers invasive species from an Australian point of view but also comes full circle with descriptions of the way that the lionfish (Pterois volitans) and other species have become problems from Queensland to the Florida coast. Definitely worth a read.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Smells Like Teen Lamprey

The Globe and Mail is reporting that biologists have developed a synthetic pheromone that attracts female sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) away from males and into traps. The chemical will soon be put to the test in lamprey-infested streams in both Michigan and Canada, and is expected to join lampricides, trapping, and underwater barriers as another tool in the arsenal of those trying to rid the Great Lakes of this invasive species.

For those who want to dig deeper into this research, you can check out the original article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (subscription required at the time of this post). Bonus points to the G&M for using the fish's scientific name.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

These Boots Are Made For Wading

Could this be a first for a major retailer? L.L. Bean has created their new Riverkeeper Wading Boots with a specific goal in mind: make it less likely for aquatic invaders to stick to the boots and travel new locations. They did it by reducing the number of seams on the shoe, using materials that dry quickly and incorporating nonporous materials where they could. The company even includes a little brush that can be used to scrub the boots after you leave the water.

L.L. Bean consulted with a microbiologist who concluded that the boots were less likely than felt-soled boots to pick up and retain those unwanted hitchhikers. Too bad they didn't have their copywriter consult with an invasive species specialist before the catalog went to print - they bungled the spelling of both didymo and milfoil on page 12. But hey, we still get the picture:

(Tip of the virtual hat to the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel for posting about this.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Meat The Squirrels

More on the squirrel-eatin' Brits, this time from The Colbert Report. Previous ISW squirrel-eatin' Brit coverage here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Read Up!

The National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species (NECIS) has just published "An Action Plan on Invasive Species" aimed at effecting change in the policies set by both Congress and the President of the United States regarding invasive species. Specifically, NECIS, which is comprised of 17 different non-governmental organizations, is asking for the following five actions to be taken:

  1. Screen intentional imports
  2. Prevent inadvertent introductions
  3. Fund early detection and response
  4. Create and support federal leadership
  5. Fill other funding gaps
They're not asking for much, are they? :-) Want to learn more? You can download the full report here.

(Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to this story.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squirrel?

Britain is apparently trying to eat its way out of a grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) invasion, according to this report from the New York Times. Squirrel has become a very trendy option at butcheries, and restaurants have been serving up such dishes as "Squirrel, Peking Duck-style" and, of course, Squirrel Pasties. As the interest in cooking and eating gray squirrel in the UK appears to be driven by popular culture, the movement is not likely to contribute to its eradication, but may perhaps raise awareness about this invasive species.

If this kind of cookery piques your interest, you'll want to click over to the NYT's companion article about preparing squirrel.

Tip of the virtual hat to Michael K. for sending in a link to this story. Original of the photo above by law_keven via Flickr (CC-licensed)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cagus Myna

The Northern Star has an interesting story about local residents in Lismore, Australia taking the fight against the myna bird into their own hands. Indian myna birds (Acridotheres tristis, also "mynah" bird) are aggressive towards Australia's native bird populations, frequently scaring them out of nesting sites. While they like to hang out near garbage dumps and other waste areas, in recent years they have been spreading into agricultural areas, where they damage crops and can spread disease. In response, the town of Lismore now offers its residents free traps to help get rid of them - so far more than 200 birds have been captured.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!

The ISW 2009 Wall Calendars are threatening to become irrelevant. I've knocked a buck off the price (hey, I only make $2 per calendar so there's not a lot of markup to work with). As always, I donate all proceeds I get from Cafepress to non-profit organizations doing work with invasive species.

Invasive Species Weblog ISW 2009 wall calendar

Get yours today!