invasive species

Reptile owners and vendors affected by an addition to Florida’s prohibited species list are filing a petition to challenge the decision.

Florida is home to more than 500 invasive species. Not all of these plants and animals are big and scary like pythons, but they can still harm the state’s native wildlife, and a lot of time and money is spent fighting them.

This week Florida Matters speaks with scientists on the front lines of this battle about how we’re doing.


Big Cypress National Preserve

In the Florida Everglades, a team of invasive species researchers got more than it bargained for – a 17-foot-long python, plus 73 developing python eggs.

On Friday, Big Cypress National Preserve announced in a post to Facebook that its team of researchers had discovered the largest python ever to be removed from the swamp.

The pregnant female weighed 140 pounds, though presumably some of that was egg weight.

University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation / Courtesy

South Florida is experiencing an infestation of poisonous Bufo toads, also known as Cane toads.

These creatures are not native to South Florida but were brought to the region to control pests attacking the sugar cane crop. They like to hop around “human modified environments near a source of moisture,” says Dr. Steven Johnson, an associate professor at University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, such as suburban neighborhoods, gold courses and baseball fields.

The Galapagos Islands are like a biological ark in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Giant tortoises live there, and swimming iguanas, and numerous species found nowhere else. It's one of the world's most protected places.

But scientists have discovered that dozens of exotic species have invaded the Galapagos — underwater.

R.D. Bartlett / Associated Press

A Florida suburb is being plagued by thousands of poisonous toads.

Experts say the amphibians are bufo toads, also known as cane toads. Residents in the infested Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood worry toxins secreted by the toads will harm their pets and children.

News stations broadcast images of the small toads clogging pool filters, hopping en masse across driveways and sidewalks, and lurking in landscaped lawns.

Labor Day is the last day to participate in the Lionfish Challenge.

There's a new effort underway make hundreds of thousands of dried and preserved plants collected along the East Coast available through a digital database.

For centuries, explorers, scientists, and amateur botanists scoured the country to document and preserve plant species. Once prized like fine art, the collections were often bequeathed to institutions that housed herbaria, or libraries for plants.

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

The U.S. Geological Survey, USGS, is collecting DNA to track a new snake hybrid in the Everglades.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN News

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed it found three invasive Oriental Fruit flies in farmlands south of Miami-Dade County. This species is labeled one of the most serious fruit fly pests in the world and lays eggs in host fruits.

South Florida Water Management District

Florida is marking a milestone in its attempt to control an infestation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

 

The state has been paying a select group of hunters to kill the invasive snakes on state lands in South Florida since March 2017. On Tuesday, the 1,000th Burmese python collected in that program will be weighed in at the South Florida Water Management District's field office in Homestead.

Measure Targeting Invasive Species Signed

Mar 27, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill aimed at reducing the number of pythons and other invasive species that cause damage in parts of the state, including the Everglades.

The bill (SB 168), which Scott signed Friday after it was unanimously approved this month by the Legislature, sets up a pilot program targeting pythons and species such as tegu lizards and lionfish.

Under the program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be able to enter contracts with people to capture or destroy the species on public lands and in state waters.

In an effort to reduce the number of invasive iguanas in South Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has funded a project in which scientists from the University of Florida approach green iguanas sleeping at night with the goal of killing them.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site, and it’s under siege from drought, invasive species and sea-level rise. 

Eating Iguanas In Southwest Florida With Jackson Landers

Dec 28, 2017
Courtesy of Jackson Landers

This story was originally published on August 8, 2013. 

Jackson Landers grew up in a vegetarian household. Now he hunts and butchers much of his own meat. In the past five years, he's focused on hunting and eating invasive species.

In his book, Eating Aliens: One Man's Adventures Eating and Hunting Invasive Species, the 35-year-old Landers chronicles his travels around the country as he learns to hunt, butcher and eat various invasive species.

Pages