The takeaway message
As invasive species populations continue to grow, officials are looking for new ways to control them.
What’s going on?
Florida has its fair share of invasive species: iguana, lionfish, torpedograss, the Brazilian peppertree. The bufo, or cane toad, is especially dangerous; it secretes a toxin that can irritate your skin and eyes and that can prove fatal for pets and native animals. A longer breeding period due to a mild winter resulted in a recent bufo toad population boom, according to WPTV.
Another familiar invader, the Burmese python, has threatened the Everglades for decades. The FWC Python Action Team, which includes hunters and other outdoor recreationists, removed its 900th python in September. But with the non-native constrictor being well-established in Florida, researchers are hoping their new innovative camera can help control the population. The camera, developed by researchers at the University of Central Florida and the nonprofit Imec, uses a special wavelength of light outside the visible spectrum to isolate a snake from its surroundings, making it easier to identify and remove.
Why it matters.
Many invasive species do not have natural predators, compete with native species for food, and are considered one of the top five drivers for global biodiversity loss. As populations continue to grow, officials need to take steps to control them and keep our natural systems in check. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, invasive species can cause the U.S. economy more than 100 billion dollars in damage each year.
What can I do?
- Take these six steps to prevent the spread of invasive species.
- Participate in one of these citizen science invasive species monitoring projects.