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The HMS Challenger; One of the Earliest Scientific Expeditions That Changed the Course of Scientific History

 

HMS Challenger Anatomy of a penguin

"Anatomy of Penguins" The Voyage of HMS Challenger

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The HMS Challenger set sail on December 21, 1872, from Portsmouth, England, containing an impressive crew of physicists, chemists, biologists, artists, and expert navigators, all of which shared the common goal of circumnavigating the globe while studying the flora and fauna that live within our oceans. On its 68,890-nautical-mile-voyage, the Challenger obtained 492 deep-sea soundings, 133 bottom samples, 151 open-water trawls, and 263 serial water temperature readings. It is estimated that on this voyage nearly 4,700 new species of marine life were discovered. Among some of the instruments used during this voyage were a shallow-water dredge, a deep-sea trawl (that had no closing device), specimen jars containing alcohol for preservation, thermometers and water sampling devices such as the Buchanan water sampler, 144 miles of Italian hemp rope, and 12.5 miles of piano wire for sampling gear, as well as many microscopes and instruments for the on-board laboratories. The ship contained a natural history laboratory where specimens were examined, identified, dissected, and drawn, and a chemistry laboratory containing a (then) state-of-the-art boiling device called a carbonic acid analysis apparatus, used for analyzing carbonic acid contained in samples.

References:

  1. Oceanography: An Introduction to the Marine Environment (Peter K. Weyl, 1970)
  2. Rice, A.L. (1999). "The Challenger Expedition". Understanding the Oceans: Marine Science in the Wake of HMS Challenger. Routledge. pp. 27–48
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenger_expedition

 

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ANAMAR Biologist, Jason Seitz’s Publication on Taxonomic Resolution of Sawfish Rosta Published in Endangered Species Research (ESR)

 

sawfish FILEminimizer

A synopsis of Jason Seitz and Jan Jeffrey Hoover’s evaluations of two large private collections of sawfish rosta (saws) has been published in the latest issue of ESR, an online-only international and multidisciplinary open-access journal on endangered species research.

Click here to read the article.

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Florida’s Introduced Nonindigenous and Invasive Mollusks (Clams and Snails): Final Installment of Our 3-part Series on Biological Invasions in Florida

 

This article is a repost from 2015, it discusses the species of introduced mollusks (bivalves and gastropods, better known as clams and snails) of Florida’s terrestrial and aquatic habitats along with a general discussion of the possible effects of biological invasions on native wildlife and habitats.  The first part of this three-part series was on introduced fishes in the state, and the second was on introduced amphibians and reptiles.  This discussion on introduced mollusks of Florida will wrap up our series!

As of this writing, at least 31 species of nonindigenous mollusks representing 17 families have been introduced to Florida (Exhibit 3).  Of these, about 68% have established breeding populations in one or more counties.  There are at least 5 species of introduced clams and 26 species of introduced snails, including terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species.  Of these mollusks, about 68% have established breeding populations in one or more counties.  Examples of established invasive species include the Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) (Exhibit 1) and the giant East African snail (Achatina fulica) (Exhibit 2).  

Exhibit 1 of JCS Introduced Mollusks Writeup 040115

 

Some well-known negative effects of introduced snails are large-scale consumption and decimation of native vegetation and out-competing native species through direct competition for limited resources and through predation on their eggs and young. 

The giant East African snail (Achatina fulica) (Exhibit 2) is a member of a family that contains the largest land snails in the world (Abbott 1989).  The species was first introduced to Florida in 1966 when a young boy brought three live snails from Hawaii (where it is also introduced) to Miami as pets.  Upon discovery of the smuggled snails, the boy’s grandmother released the snails into her garden.  Over the next several years the snails multiplied and spread to neighboring lands.  Florida state agricultural authorities were eventually alerted to the establishment of this destructive species and the species was eradicated by 1972 to the tune of $300,000 (Abbott 1989) to more than $1 million (FDACS 2011).  Between 1966 and 1972, the three specimens brought to Florida by the boy had multiplied to over 18,000 snails.  One specimen of the Miami colony reportedly measured a whopping seven inches in shell length (Abbott 1989)!  

Exhibit 2 of JCS Introduced Mollusks Writeup 040115

 

In September 2011, the giant East African snail was found to have been reestablished in Miami after the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services responded to a call from a Miami homeowner.  Within 6 months, over 40,000 snails were collected in Miami by state and federal authorities (USDA 2012).  Although authorities are working hard to remove all the individuals of this species from Florida, the eradication will prove very difficult and the likelihood of complete eradication currently appears low.

The giant East African snail is introduced and invasive in several other parts of the world, including Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific, the Philippines, Madagascar, and parts of Asia.  The species is known to consume some 500 species of plants in both agricultural and natural areas.  Because the snail requires large amounts of calcium to grow and strengthen its great shell, the species causes damage to plaster and stucco while consuming these products for their calcium content.  It is a known carrier of a parasitic nematode that is capable of spreading meningitis in humans (FDACS 2011). 

The parasitic nematode known as rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) is carried by the giant East African snail and has an interesting life cycle.  The larvae are ingested by the snail (the intermediate host of the worm) when feeding on rat feces (don’t ask).  The larvae grow and approach maturity inside the snail.  It takes the consumption of an infected snail by a rat (the definitive host) for the parasitic nematode to complete its life cycle by reaching maturity and producing eggs inside the rat.  The mature nematode eggs hatch into larvae while still within the rat and are expelled with the rat’s feces.  People can become infected by eating undercooked or raw (who eats raw snails?) infected snails.  People may also become infected by eating raw produce such as lettuce that contains a small snail or slug.  An infected person cannot transmit the disease to other people.  Infection of rat lungworm in humans is rare in the continental United States, but at least one case was recorded in 1993 in New Orleans where a boy ingested a raw snail (apparently on a dare) and became infected with rat lungworm.  The parasitic nematode is host-specific and humans are not its intended host, so the parasite typically dies inside an infected person, even without treatment.  However, the symptoms range from headache, muscle aches, stiff neck, skin irritation, fever, nausea, and vomiting until the parasite dies (CDC 2010).  

 

In 2012, a captive orangutan (Pongo sp.) housed in Miami was found to have been infected with the rat lungworm.  The animal had a history of eating snails.  Researchers from the University of Florida collected snails and rat feces from around the area where the orangutan was housed and examined the samples for evidence of the parasitic nematode.  Several of the snails and all of the rat feces tested positive for rat lungworm (UF 2015).  The species of snails found to have been infected included the introduced species Asian trampsnail (Bradybaena similaris), garden zachrysia (Zachrysia provisoria), and the striate drop (Alcadia striata) (J. Slapcinsky, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, pers. comm. 03/03/015).

Although reducing the effects of invasive nonindigenous species (such as those listed in Exhibit 3) is an important part of restoration and management efforts in natural areas of Florida and elsewhere, introduced mollusks are typically a lower priority than other organisms, such as invasive plants or fishes, except when they are known carriers of disease or damage agricultural crops or other property.  Nonetheless, invasive organisms of all kinds can cause significant stress to native ecosystems and biological invasion is widely viewed as a major cause of the reduction in native plant and animal diversity (Elton 1958, Wilcove et al. 1998).  Invasive species are known to affect most natural areas of the United States (Villazon 2009) and worldwide (Sala et al. 2000).

It should go without saying that the intentional introduction of any nonindigenous species, whether it be a plant or animal and regardless of size or assumed innocuousness, should never be attempted.  The reasons are many and the costs can be severe in terms of biological effects, human health, and economic impacts.  Nonindigenous species introduced to new areas have the capacity to explode in numbers and outcompete native species for limited resources such as food, water, and shelter.  Native species are at a competitive disadvantage because they have not had time to evolve defense mechanisms that would otherwise allow them to successfully compete against the introduced species.  The introduced species can have a competitive edge where it is introduced outside its native range partly because these species lack the predators they would have in their native range.  This idea was coined fairly recently by scientists with the term ‘predator release’.  The competition between native and nonindigenous species can result in the extinction of native species, spread of diseases and parasites, and displacement of whole communities, and may even cause physical changes to the environment.

 

 Jasons 1Jasons 2Jasons 3Jasons 4

jasons 5

 

Sources:

Abbott, R.T.  1989. Compendium of Landsnails.  A Color Guide to More than 2,000 of the World’s Terrestrial Shells.  American Malacologists, Inc., Melbourne, FL.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  2010.  Parasites – Angiostrongyliasis (Also Known as Angiostrongylus Infection) [online resource].  Accessed 03/24/15 at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/angiostrongylus/‌gen_info/faqs.html#whatangiostrongylus#whatangiostrongylus.

Elton, C.S.  1958.  The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants. Methuen and Co., Ltd., Strand, London.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).  2011.  Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Identified Giant African Land Snails in Miami-Dade County [online resource].  Accessed 03/24/15 at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/News-Events/Press-Releases/2011-Press-Releases/Florida-Department-of-Agriculture-and-Consumer-Services-Identifies-Giant-African-Land-Snails-in-Miami-Dade-County.

Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH).  2015.  Invertebrate Zoology Master Database [online resource].  Accessed 03/23/15 at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/scripts/dbs/malacol_pub.asp.

 Sala, O.E. F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, R.B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D.M. Lodge, H.A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N.L. Poff, M.T. Sykes, B.H. Walker, M. Walker, and D.H. Wall.  2000.  Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774.

Seitz, J.C.  2014.  Assessing Stream-mediated Seed and Shoot Dispersal of Invasive Plants in an Urban Riparian Wetland [thesis].  University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

University of Florida (UF).  2015.  UF Researchers: Rare Parasite Colonizing Snails in South Florida [online resource].  Accessed 03/24/15 at http://news.ufl.edu/archive/2015/02/uf-researchers-rare-parasite-colonizing-snails-in-south-florida.html#prettyPhoto.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  2012.  Escargot? More like Escar-No! [online resource].  Accessed 03/24/15 at http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/04/19/escargot-more-like-escar-no/.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  2015.  NAS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Species [online resource].  Accessed 03/23/15 at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?Group=Mollusks&Sortby=1&state=FL.

Villazon, K.A.  2009.  Methods to Restore Native Plant Communities after Invasive Species Removal: Marl Prairie Ponds and an Abandoned Phosphate Mine in Florida.  MS thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Wilcove, D.S., D. Rothstein, J. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos.  1998.  Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615.

Wilson, L.D. and L. Porras.  1983.  The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna.  The University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

 

 

 

 

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Florida’s Introduced Nonindigenous and Invasive Amphibians and Reptiles: Part 2 of a 3-part Series on Biological Invasions in Florida

This article was first written and posted in 2015. We decided to dust it off and repost it. Enjoy!

This article discusses the species of introduced herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) of Florida’s terrestrial and aquatic habitats along with a general discussion of the possible effects of biological invasions on native wildlife and habitats.  The first part of this three-part series was on introduced fishes in the state.  The final part of the series will be on introduced mollusks (bivalves and gastropods, or clams and snails & slugs) of Florida. 

As of this writing, at least 110 species of nonindigenous herpetofauna (colloquially called ‘herptiles’ for short) representing 34 families have been introduced to Florida (Exhibits 1 and 4).  Of the species introduced to Florida, about 43% are now considered to have established breeding populations in one or more counties (Exhibit 2).  This amounts to 47 established herptile species in Florida as of this writing.  Both urban and natural areas of Florida are affected by these biological invaders.  For example, the first reticulated python (Python reticulatus) observed in Florida was during the 1980s, where it was seen living under a house in Miami.  This species has since been observed and (or) collected in several other areas of Florida, although it is not known whether the species has established self-sustaining breeding populations (Exhibit 3).   Lizards are the most successful group and account for the majority (72%) of established herptiles in Florida today.  The list in Exhibit 4 below contains the species known to have been introduced, although it is important to note that new species are introduced on a regular basis in Florida, so the list is constantly expanding.  Most introduced herptiles are native to the tropics (Wilson and Porras 1983).  The fact that Florida’s climate is subtropical is a major reason why many introduced species have successfully established themselves in the state.  Nonindigenous herptiles have been introduced via a variety of mechanisms:

  • Stowaways in shipments of ornamental plants or produce
  • Intentional or accidental release by pet dealers or owners
  • Intentional or accidental release from zoological parks
  • Intentional release by government agencies to combat nuisance organisms

photo 1 Herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 1.  Percentages per group of introduced species of amphibians and reptiles in Florida today.  Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

photo 2 herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 2.  Percentages per group of introduced species of amphibians and reptiles that are known to have established self-sustaining breeding populations in Florida today.  Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

photo 3 herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 3.  Several sightings and captures of the reticulated python (Python reticulatus) have occurred in Florida counties since the late 1980s, including Broward, Collier, Manatee, Miami-Dade, and Pinellas counties. 

The red pin-shaped symbols above represent the location of a sighting or capture.  The black numbers surrounded by red denote locations where more than one sighting or capture was recorded.  Modified from the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation (http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/snakes/reticulatedpython.shtml).

Wilson and Porras predicted in the early 1980s that southern Florida would eventually be overrun with introduced exotic wildlife.  The current trends in established and spreading introduced species suggest that these authors may have been right. 

Reducing the effects of invasive nonindigenous species is an important part of restoration and management efforts in natural areas of Florida, United States, and worldwide, as these species cause significant stress to native ecosystems (Adams and Steigerwalt 2010) and biological invasion is widely viewed as a major cause of the reduction in native plant and animal diversity (Elton 1958, Wilcove et al. 1998).  Invasive species are known to affect most natural areas of the United States (Villazon 2009) and worldwide (Sala et al. 2000).

It should go without saying that the intentional introduction of any nonindigenous species, whether it be a plant or animal and regardless of size or assumed innocuousness, should never be attempted.  The reasons are many and the costs can be severe, both in terms of biological effects and economic impacts.  Nonindigenous species introduced to new areas have the capacity to explode in numbers and outcompete native species for limited resources such as food, water, and shelter.  Native species are at a competitive disadvantage because they have not had time to evolve defense mechanisms that would otherwise allow them to successfully compete against the introduced species.  The competition between native and nonindigenous species can result in the extinction of native species, the spread of diseases and parasites, displacement of whole communities, and may even cause physical changes to the environment. 

Exhibit 4.  Nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles recorded in Florida.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Locality Records

Current Status

ANURA

FROGS & TOADS

 

 

BOMBINATORIDAE

FIRE-BELLIED TOADS

 

 

Bombina orientalis

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad

Broward Co.

Unknown

BUFONIDAE

AMERICAN TOADS

 

 

Atelopus zeteki

Panamanian Golden Frog

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Duttaphrynus melanostictus

Southeast Asian Toad

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Rhaebo blombergi

Columbian Giant Toad

Broward Co. (1963)

Failed

Rhinella marina

Cane Toad

Southern Florida, portions of central and northern Florida

Established (southern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

ELEUTERODACTYLIDAE

RAINFROGS

 

 

Eleutherodactylus coqui

Coqui

Miami-Dade Co.

Established

Eleutherodactylus planirostris

Greenhouse Frog

Throughout most of Florida

Established (throughout)

Eleutherodactylus portoricensis

Forest Coqui

Miami-Dade Co. (1964)

Collected

HYLIDAE

TREEFROGS

 

 

Litoria caerulea

Australian Green Treefrog

Broward, Collier, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Osteopilus septentrionalis

Cuban Treefrog

Throughout most of Florida

Established (most of FL)

Pachymedusa dacnicolor

Mexican Leaf Frog

Miami-Dade Co. (1964)

Failed

Pseudacris sierra

Sierran Chorus Frog

Hillsborough & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

HYPEROLIIDAE

SEDGE AND BUSH FROGS

 

 

Afrixalus fornasini

Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog

Broward Co.

Failed

MICROHYLIDAE

NARROWMOUTH TOADS

 

 

Kaloula pulchra

Malaysian Painted Frog

Broward Co.

Unknown

PIPIDAE

TONGUELESS FROGS

 

 

Hymenochirus boettgeri

Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Xenopus laevis

African Clawed Frog

Brevard, Hillsborough, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

AMPHIUMIDAE

AQUATIC SALAMANDERS

 

 

Amphiuma tridactylum

Three-toed Amphiuma

Broward Co.

Unknown

SALAMANDRIDAE

TRUE SALAMANDERS AND NEWTS

 

 

Cynops orientalis

Oriental Fire-bellied Newt

Broward & Sumter Co.

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Collected (Sumter Co.)

Cynops pyrrhogaster

Japanese Fire-bellied Salamander

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Red-spotted Newt

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Pachytriton labiatus

Paddle-Tail Newt

Broward Co.

Failed

TESTUDINES

TURTLES & TORTOISES

 

 

BATAGURIDAE

BATAGURID TURTLES

 

 

Ocadia sinensis

Chinese Stripe-necked Turtle

 Alachua Co. (1972)

Eradicated

Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima

Central American Ornate Wood Turtle

Manatee Co.

Failed

Rhinoclemmys punctularia

Spot-legged Wood Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miccosukee Indian Reservation)

Collected (Parrot Jungle Trail, Jungle Island)

CHELIDAE

SOUTH AMERICAN SIDE-NECKED TURTLES

 

 

Chelus fimbriatus

Matamata

Broward Co.

Failed

Platemys platycephala

Twist-necked Turtle

Collier Co.

Collected

EMYDIDAE

POND TURTLES

 

 

Chrysemys dorsalis

Southern Painted Turtle

Alachua & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Chrysemys picta

Western Painted Turtle

Jackson, Miami-Dade, & Orange Co.

Unknown (Jackson Co.)

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Collected (Orange Co.)

Glyptemys insculpta

Wood Turtle

St. Johns Co.

Failed

Graptemys barbouri

Barbour's Map Turtle

Leon Co.

Collected

Graptemys ernsti

Escambia Map Turtle

Orange Co.

Unknown

Graptemys ouachitensis

Ouachita Map Turtle

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach Co.

Collected (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Palm Beach Co.)

Graptemys pseudogeographica

False Map Turtle

Brevard, Columbia, Gilchrist, & Miami-Dade Co.

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Trachemys dorbigni

Brazilian Slider

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Trachemys scripta callirostris

Columbian Slider

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Trachemys scripta elegans

Red-eared Slider

Throughout most of Florida

Established (throughout)

Trachemys scripta scripta

Yellow-bellied Slider

Broward, Lee, & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Lee Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Trachemys stejnegeri malonei

Inagua Slider

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

KINOSTERNIDAE

MUD & MUSK TURTLES

 

 

Kinosternon scorpioides

Scorpion Mud Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Staurotypus salvinii

Pacific Coast giant musk turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Pelusios subniger

East African Black Mud Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Collected

PELOMEDUSIDAE

AFRICAN SIDE-NECKED TURTLES

 

 

Podocnemis lewyana

Magdalena River Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Podocnemis sextuberculata

Six-tubercled River turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Podocnemis unifilis

Yellow-spotted River Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

TESTUDINIDAE

LAND TORTOISES

 

 

Chelonoidis denticulata

Yellowfoot Tortoise

Collier Co.

Collected

TRIONYCHIDAE

SOFTSHELL TURTLES

 

 

Apalone spinifera

Spiny Softshell

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

CROCODYLIA

CROCODILES & ALLIGATORS

 

 

ALLIGATORIDAE

ALLIGATORS

 

 

Caiman crocodilus

Spectacled Caiman

Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, & Seminole Co.

Established (Broward & Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Paleosuchus palpebrosus

Cuvier's Smooth-fronted Caiman

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Paleosuchus trigonatus

Schneider's Smooth-fronted Caiman

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

CROCODYLIDAE

CROCODILES

 

 

Crocodylus niloticus

Nile Crocodile

Hendry & Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Mecistops cataphractus

African Slender-snouted Crocodile

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

SQUAMATA

AMPHISBAENIANS, LIZARDS, & SNAKES

 

 

CORYTOPHANIDAE

HELMET LIZARDS

 

 

Basiliscus vittatus

Brown Basilisk

Nine counties in southern FL

Established (Broward, Collier, Glades, Indian River, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, & St. Lucie Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

IGUANIDAE

IGUANAS

 

 

Ctenosaura pectinata

Mexican Spinytail Iguana

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Ctenosaura similis

Black Spinytail Iguana

Nine coastal counties in southern FL

Established (most coastal counties in southern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Iguana iguana

Green Iguana

Throughout coastal southern FL and along Lake Okeechobee, isolated areas elsewhere in FL

Established (many coastal counties in southern FL)

Unknown (northern & central FL)

PHRYNOSOMATIDAE

NORTH AMERICAN SPINY LIZARDS

 

 

Phrynosoma cornutum

Texas Horned Lizard

Spottily distributed throughout FL

Established (Duval Co. & western panhandle coastal areas)

Unknown (elsewhere)

POLYCHROTIDAE

ANOLES

 

 

Anolis chlorocyanus

Hispaniolan Green Anole

Broward & Palm Beach Co.

Established (Broward Co.)

Unknown (Palm Beach Co.)

Anolis cristatellus

Puerto Rican Crested Anole

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Anolis cybotes

Largehead Anole

Miami-Dade, Broward, & Martin Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Martin Co.)

Anolis distichus

Bark Anole

Most of coastal southern FL

Established (most of coastal southern FL)

Anolis equestris

Knight Anole

Most of coastal southern FL, spottily distributed in inland counties

Established (most of coastal southern FL)

Anolis garmani

Jamaican Giant Anole

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Anolis porcatus

Cuban Green Anole

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Possible hybridization with A. carolinensis (Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.)

Anolis sagrei

Brown Anole

Throughout peninsula and in at least 6 counties in panhandle

Established (most of FL)

Anolis trinitatis

St. Vincent Bush Anole

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

TROPIDURIDAE

LAVA LIZARDS

 

 

Leiocephalus carinatus

Northern Curlytail Lizard

15 counties in peninsular FL

Established to unknown throughout

Leiocephalus schreibersii

Red-sided Curlytail Lizard

Broward, Charlotte, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

AGAMIDAE

AGAMID LIZARDS

 

 

Agama agama

African Rainbow Lizard

9 counties in peninsular FL

Established to unknown throughout

Calotes cf. versicolor

Variable Bloodsucker

Broward & St. Lucie Co.

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Established (St. Lucie Co.)

Leiolepis bellinana

Butterfly Lizard

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown (Miami-Dade Co.)

CHAMAELEONIDAE

CHAMELEONS

 

 

Chamaeleo calyptratus

Veiled Chameleon

Alachua, Collier, Lee, & Hendry Co.

Unknown (Alachua & Collier Co.)

Established (Hendry & Miami-Dade Co.)

Furcifer oustaleti

Oustalet’s Chameleon

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

SPHAERODACTYLIDAE

NEW WORLD GECKOS

 

 

Gonatodes albogularis

Yellowhead Gecko

Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & St. Lucie Co.

Likely established (Monroe Co.)

Failed (Broward, Miami-Dade, & St. Lucie Co.)

Sphaerodactylus argus

Ocellated Gecko

Monroe Co.

Established

Sphaerodactylus elegans

Ashy Gecko

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Established (Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.)

GEKKONIDAE

WALL GECKOS

 

 

Gekko badenii

Golden Gecko

Broward Co. (Hollywood)

Unknown

Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko

Spottily distributed between FL Keys north to Tallahassee

Established (spottily between FL Keys to Tallahassee)

Hemidactylus frenatus

Common House Gecko

Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Established (Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.)

Hemidactylus garnotti

Indo-Pacific House Gecko

Throughout southern, central, & northern FL peninsula; a few counties in panhandle

Established (throughout peninsula)

Unknown (panhandle)

Hemidactylus mabouia

Tropical House Gecko

Throughout southern FL, also parts of central and northern FL

Established (southern FL, parts of central and northern FL)

Hemidactylus platyurus

Asian Flat-tailed House Gecko

Alachua, Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Pinellas Co.

Established (locally in vicinity of reptile dealerships)

Hemidactylus turcicus

Mediterranean Gecko

Throughout FL

Established (throughout)

Lepidodactylus lugubris

Mourning Gecko

Lee, Miami-Dade, & St. Lucie Co.

Unknown

Phelsuma grandis

Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

Broward, Lee, Monroe, & Palm Beach Co.

Established (Monroe & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Lee Co.)

PHYLLODACTYLIDAE

PHYLLODACTYLID GECKOS

 

 

Tarentola annularis

Ringed Wall Gecko

Lee, Leon, Broward, & Miami-Dade Co.

Eradicated (Leon Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Tarentola mauritanica

Moorish Gecko

Broward Co.; possibly Lee & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

TEIIDAE

WHIPTAILS

 

 

Ameiva ameiva

Giant Ameiva

Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Established (Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.)

Aspidoscelis motaguae (formerly Cnemidophorus motaguae)

Giant Whiptail

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown, possibly established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Cnemidophorus lemniscatus complex

Rainbow Whiptail

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown, possibly established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Tupinambis merianae

Argentine Giant Tegu

Southern FL, spottily recorded in central and northern FL

Established (Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, & Polk Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

SCINCIDAE

SKINKS

 

 

Chalcides ocellatus

Ocellated Skink

Pasco & Broward Co.

Established (both counties)

Eutropis multifasciata

Many-lined Sun Skink

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Trachylepis quinquetaeniata

African Five-lined Skink

St. Lucie Co.

Unknown

VARANIDAE

MONITORS

 

 

Varanus albigularis

White-throated Monitor

Miami-Dade, Monroe, Osceola, & Palm-Beach Co.

Unknown

Varanus doreanus

Blue-tailed Monitor

Indian River Co.

Unknown

Varanus exanthematicus

Savannah Monitor

Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Marian, Miami-Dade, Orange, Polk, Sarasota, & Seminole Co.

Unknown

Varanus jobiensis

Peach-throated Monitor

Palm Beach & Polk Co.

Unknown

Varanus niloticus

Nile Monitor

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Varanus salvator

Water Monitor

Alachua, Broward, Pinellas, & St. Johns Co.

Unknown

Varanus salvadorii

Crocodile Monitor

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

ACROCHORDIDAE

WORT SNAKES

 

 

Acrochordus javanicus

Javan File Snake

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

BOIDAE

BOAS

 

 

Boa constrictor

Boa Constrictor

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Miami-Dade Co. at Charles Deering Estate)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Eunectes murinus

Green Anaconda

Collier & Osceola Co., possibly Monroe Co.

Collected (Collier & Osceola Co.)

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Eunectes notaeus

Yellow Anaconda

Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Collected (Monroe Co.)

Unknown (Collier & Miami-Dade Co.)

PYTHONIDAE

PYTHONS

 

 

Python bivittatus

Burmese Python

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Broward, Collier, Hendry, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Python regius

Ball Python

Collier Co.

Unknown

Python reticulatus

Reticulated Python

Broward, Collier, Manatee, Miami-Dade, & Pinellas Co.

Unknown

Python sebae

Northern African Rock Python

Miami-Dade & Sarasota Co.

Established: Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown: Sarasota Co.

COLUBRIDAE

COLUBRID SNAKES

 

 

Erpeton tentaculatus

Tentacled Snake

Broward Co.

Failed

TYPHLOPIDAE

BLINDSNAKES

 

 

Ramphotyphlops braminus

Brahminy Blindsnake

Central & southern FL, spottily distributed in northern FL

Established (southern, central, portions of northern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

Sources:

Adams, C.R. and N.M. Steigerwalt.  2010.  Research Needs and Logistic Impediments in Restoration, Enhancement, and Management Projects: A Survey of Land Managers. Publication ENH1161 [online resource].  Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.  Accessed 11/21/10 at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep423.

Elton, C.S.  1958.  The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants.  Methuen and Co., Ltd., Strand, London.

Florida Museum of Natural History.  2014.  Checklist & Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida [online resource].  Accessed 02/24/15 at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/.

Krysko, K.L., K.M. Enge, P.E. Moler.  2011.  Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida.  Project Agreement 08013, report submitted to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, FL.

Sala, O.E. F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, R.B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D.M. Lodge, H.A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N.L. Poff, M.T. Sykes, B.H. Walker, M. Walker, and D.H. Wall.  2000.  Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100.  Science 287:1770–1774.

U.S. Geological Survey.  2015.  NAS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Species [online resource].  Accessed 03/03/15 at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.aspx?SpeciesID=963&State=FL.

Villazon, K.A.  2009.  Methods to Restore Native Plant Communities after Invasive Species Removal: Marl Prairie Ponds and an Abandoned Phosphate Mine in Florida.  MS thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Wilcove, D.S., D. Rothstein, J. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos.  1998.  Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615.

Wilson, L.D. and L. Porras.  1983.  The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna.  The University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

 

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Florida’s Introduced Nonindigenous and Invasive Fishes: Part 1 of a 3-part Series on Biological Invasions in Florida

This article is a repost from 2015. It discusses the species of introduced fishes in Florida’s freshwater and marine habitats, along with a general discussion of biological invasions as a potential driver of loss-of-habitat functions.  Future articles in the series will discuss introduced mollusks (bivalves and gastropods) and herptiles (amphibians and reptiles) of Florida.

Waterbodies such as streams, lakes, ponds, and oceans are well known for their habitat functions, especially their ability to support aquatic wildlife by providing sustenance and shelter.  A myriad of animals, from tiny arthropods to 12-meter-long whale sharks, rely on native organisms as food.   Many waterbodies support some of the most productive habitats in the world, providing food and shelter for mollusks, crustaceans, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and often serve as vital nursery grounds for these species.  Others are nutrient-poor and relatively unproductive.  Nevertheless, hundreds of imperiled species require aquatic habitats for survival.  Along with their threatened or endangered wildlife, waterbodies themselves are threatened in many ways.  Anthropogenic disturbances include groundwater depletion, reallocation of surface water, nutrient inputs, habitat fragmentation, fire suppression, pollution, land use changes, overharvesting, climate change, dredging, and the introduction of nonindigenous plants and animals (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 of JCS Introduced Fishes Writeup 012815

Reducing the effects of invasive nonindigenous species is an important part of restoration and management efforts in natural areas of Florida, the United States, and worldwide.  These species cause significant stress to native ecosystems (Adams and Steigerwalt 2010), and biological invasion is widely viewed as a major cause of the reduction in native plant and animal diversity (Elton 1958, Wilcove et al. 1998).  Invasive species are known to affect most natural areas of the United States (Villazon 2009) and worldwide (Sala et al. 2000), and aquatic habitats are particularly susceptible to nonindigenous species due in part to the fact that aquatic habitats act as biological sinks, receiving plant and animal genetic material from upstream sources.

As of this writing, at least 192 species of fishes representing 42 families have been introduced to Florida (Exhibit 2).  Nearly all waterbodies are affected by fish introductions, from small wetlands to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida.  The list below contains the species known to have been introduced, although it is important to note that new species are introduced on a regular basis in Florida, so the list is constantly expanding.  Many species ultimately fail to gain a foothold in Florida, while a smaller number of species successfully establish themselves.  Some have spread like a cancer across the state.  The Brown Hoplo (Hoplosternum littorale) is an example of an introduction that is now established throughout the peninsula of Florida, much to the detriment of native aquatic species that have not had time to adapt to this new competitor for limited resources.  Marine habitats are not immune to biological invasions.  The detrimental effects of the (likely intentional) introduction of two species of invasive lionfishes (Red Lionfish and Devil Firefish [Pterois volitans and P. miles]) are still being determined but likely include direct predation on native fishes, crabs, and shrimps and competition with native reef species for limited resources.  Red Lionfish and Devil Firefish are now firmly established throughout the Atlantic coast of Florida and are actively invading much of the Gulf of Mexico.  The spread of lionfishes throughout the western North Atlantic Ocean is occurring at an unprecedented rate (see Exhibit 3) (Schofield 2010).  Many of the introduced fishes in Florida are from tropical or subtropical areas of Asia and South America, and to a lesser extent, Africa (Idelberger et al. 2010).  The fact that Florida’s climate is also subtropical is a major reason why many introduced species have successfully established themselves in the state. 

It should go without saying that the intentional introduction of any nonindigenous species, whether it be a plant or animal and regardless of size or assumed innocuousness, should never be attempted.  The reasons are many and the costs can be severe, both in terms of biological effects and economic impacts.  Nonindigenous species introduced to new areas have the capacity to explode in numbers and outcompete native species for limited resources such as food, water, and shelter.  Native species are at a competitive disadvantage because they have not had time to evolve defense mechanisms that would otherwise allow them to successfully compete against the introduced species.  The competition between native and nonindigenous species can result in the extinction of native species, the spread of diseases and parasites, and the displacement of whole communities, and may even cause physical changes to the environment. 

Exhibit 2.  Freshwater and marine nonindigenous fishes recorded from Florida.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Locality Records

Current Status

ACANTHURIDAE

SURGEONFISHES

 

 

Acanthurus guttatus

Whitespotted Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Acanthurus pyroferus

Chocolate Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Acanthurus sohal

Red Sea Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Naso lituratus

Orangespine Unicornfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma desjardinii

Sailfin Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma flavescens

Yellow Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Established off Monroe County, unknown elsewhere

Zebrasoma scopas

Brown Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma veliferum

Sailfin Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Monroe & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Zebrasoma xanthurum

Yellowtail Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown

ANABANTIDAE

CLIMBING GOURAMIES

 

 

Anabas testudineus

Climbing Perch

Manatee County

Extirpated

Ctenopoma nigropannosum

Twospot Climbing Perch

Manatee County

Extirpated

ANOSTOMIDAE

HEADSTANDERS

 

 

Leporinus fasciatus

Banded Leporinus

Miami-Dade County

Failed

BALISTIDAE

TRIGGERFISHES

   

Balistoides conspicillum

Clown Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Lagoon Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Rhinecanthus verrucosus

Bursa Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

BLENNIIDAE

BLENNIES

 

 

Hypsoblennius invemar

Tessellated Blenny

Atlantic and Gulf coasts off Bay, Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Established

CALLICHTHYIDAE

ARMORED CATFISHES

 

 

Callichthys callichthys

Cascarudo

Palm Beach County, Boca Raton

Failed

Corydoras sp.

Corydoras

Miami-Dade County, elsewhere

Failed

Hoplosternum littorale

Brown Hoplo

Most of peninsular Florida

Established

CENTRARCHIDAE

SUNFISHES

 

 

Ambloplites rupestris

Rock Bass

Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, & Walton counties

Established

CHAETODONTIDAE

BUTTERFLYFISHES

 

 

Chaetodon lunula

Raccoon Butterflyfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Heniochus diphreutes

Schooling Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Heniochus intermedius

Red Sea Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Heniochus sp.

Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown

CHANNIDAE

SNAKEHEADS

 

 

Channa argus

Northern Snakehead

Seminole & Volusia counties

Failed

Channa marulius

Bullseye Snakehead

Broward County

Established

CHARACIDAE

TETRAS

 

 

Aphyocharax anisitsi

Bloodfin Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Colossoma macropomum

Tambaqui

Alachua, Bay, Broward, Leon, Pinellas, St. Lucie & Volusia counties

Failed

Colossoma or Piaractus sp.

Unidentified Pacu

Alachua, Broward, Citrus, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Holmes, Indian River, Marion, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, & Volusia counties

Failed

Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

Black Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Hyphessobrycon eques

Serpae Tetra

Bay County

Failed

Metynnis sp.

Metynnis

Collier & Martin counties, elsewhere

Established (Martin Co.)

Failed (Collier Co.)

Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae

Redeye Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Piaractus brachypomus

Pirapatinga, Red-Bellied Pacu

Alachua, Brevard, DeSoto, Hillsborough, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sarasota, St. Lucie, & Walton counties

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Failed (all other counties)

Piaractus mesopotamicus

Small-Scaled Pacu

Lee County

Failed

Pygocentrus nattereri

Red Piranha

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach counties

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Eradicated (Palm-Beach Co.)

Pygocentrus or Serrasalmus sp.

Unidentified Piranha

Florida (not specified)

Collected

Serrasalmus rhombeus

White Piranha

Alachua & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Eradicated to failed

CICHLIDAE

CICHLIDS

 

 

Aequidens pulcher

Blue Acara

Hillsborough County

Extirpated

Amphilophus citrinellus

Midas Cichlid

Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, & Miami-Dade counties

Failed (Alachua Co.)

Established (elsewhere)

Archocentrus nigrofasciatus

Convict Cichlid

Alachua & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Failed or eradicated throughout

Astatotilapia calliptera

Eastern Happy

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Established (both counties)

Astronotus ocellatus

Oscar

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichla ocellaris

Butterfly Peacock Bass

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichla temensis

Speckled Pavon

Palm Beach County, elsewhere in southern FL

Failed

Cichlasoma bimaculatum

Black Acara

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichlasoma octofasciata

Jack Dempsey

Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Indian River, Levy, Manatee, & Palm Beach counties

Established (most counties)

Cichlasoma salvini

Yellowbelly Cichlid

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Established

Cichlasoma trimaculatum

Threespot Cichlid

Hillsborough & Manatee counties

Failed (Hillsborough Co.)

Extirpated (Manatee Co.)

Cichlasoma urophthalmus

Mayan Cichlid

Much of southern Florida

Established

Geophagus sp.

Eartheater

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Hemichromis letourneuxi

African Jewelfish

Much of southern Florida

Established

Herichthys cyanoguttatum

Rio Grande Cichlid

Brevard, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, & Polk counties

Established

Heros severus

Banded Cichlid

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Established

Melanochromis auratus

Golden Mbuna

Hillsborough County

Unknown

Oreochromis aureus

Blue Tilapia

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Oreochromis mossambicus

Mozambique Tilapia

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Oreochromis niloticus

Nile Tilapia

Alachua, Brevard, Gadsden, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Jackson, Osceola, Putnam, & Sarasota counties

Established (Alachua Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Oreochromis sp.

Tilapia Species

Brevard County

Unknown

Oreochromis, Sarotherodon, Tilapia sp.

Tilapia

Glades County, elsewhere

Collected

Parachromis managuensis

Jaguar Guapote

Much of southern FL

Established

Pseudotropheus socolofi

Pindani

Miami-Dade County

Extirpated

Pterophyllum scalare

Freshwater Angelfish

Palm Beach County

Failed

Sarotherodon melanotheron

Blackchin Tilapia

Much of southern FL

Established

Telmatochromis bifrenatus

Lake Tanganyika Dwarf Cichlid

Oklawaha County

Failed

Thorichthys meeki

Firemouth Cichlid

Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach counties

Established (Broward Co.)

Failed or extirpated (elsewhere)

Tilapia buttikoferi

Zebra Tilapia

Miami-Dade County

Established

Tilapia mariae

Spotted Tilapia

Much of southern FL

Established

Tilapia sp.

Unidentified Tilapia

Brevard County

Established

Tilapia sparrmanii

Banded Tilapia

Hillsborough County, elsewhere

Failed

Tilapia zillii

Redbelly Tilapia

Brevard, Lake, Miami-Dade, & Polk counties

Established (Brevard & Miami-Dade Co.)

Extirpated or failed (elsewhere)

CLARIIDAE

LABYRINTH CATFISHES

 

 

Clarias batrachus

Walking Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

COBITIDAE

LOACHES

 

 

Misgurnus anguillicaudatus

Oriental Weatherfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pangio kuhlii

Coolie Loach

Hillsborough County

Failed

CYPRINIDAE

CARPS AND MINNOWS

 

 

Barbonymus schwanenfeldii

Tinfoil Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Carassius auratus

Goldfish

Alachua, Clay, Miami-Dade, & Putnam counties

Unknown

Ctenopharyngodon idella

Grass Carp

Throughout FL

Stocked as triploid, no evidence of establishment

Cyprinus carpio

Common Carp

Much of northern FL

Established

Danio rerio

Zebra Danio

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Devario malabaricus

Malabar Danio

Hillsborough & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Failed

Hybopsis cf. winchelli

Undescribed Clear Chub

Gadsden County

Failed

Hypophthalmichthys nobilis

 

Bighead Carp

Bay & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Labeo chrysophekadion

Black Sharkminnow, Black Labeo

Not specified

Failed

Leuciscus idus

Ide

Not specified

Failed

Luxilus chrysocephalus isolepis

Striped Shiner

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Nocomis leptocephalus bellicus

Bluehead Chub

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Notemigonus crysoleucas

Golden Shiner

Ochlocknee drainage

Established

Notropis baileyi

Rough Shiner

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Notropis harperi

Redeye Chub

Leon County

Failed

Pethia conchonius

Rosy Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Pethia gelius

Dwarf Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Pimephales promelas

Fathead Minnow

Hillsborough, Leon, Marion, Palm Beach, & Polk counties

Unknown or extirpated throughout

Systomus tetrazona

Tiger Barb

Miami-Dade County, elsewhere

Failed

Tinca tinca

Tench

Unspecified

Failed

DORADIDAE

THORNY CATFISHES

 

 

Oxydoras niger

Ripsaw Catfish

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Platydoras costatus

Raphael Catfish

Unspecified

Collected

Pterodoras granulosus

Granulated Catfish

Pinellas County

Failed

Pterodoras sp.

Thorny Catfish

Pinellas County

Failed

Platax orbicularis

Orbiculate Batfish

Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Eradicated to unknown

ERYTHRINIDAE

TRAHIRAS

 

 

Hoplias malabaricus

Trahira

Hillsborough County

Eradicated

GRAMMATIDAE

BASSLETS

 

 

Gramma loreto

Fairy Basslet

Atlantic Ocean off Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach, & Duval counties; also in Gulf of Mexico (unspecified counties)

Established (throughout)

HELOSTOMATIDAE

KISSING GOURAMIES

 

 

Helostoma temminkii

Kissing Gourami

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

HEMISCYLLIIDAE

BAMBOOSHARKS

 

 

Chiloscyllium punctatum

Brownbanded Bambooshark

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

HEPTAPTERIDAE

SEVEN-FINNED CATFISHES

 

 

Rhamdia quelen

Bagre

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Rhamdia sp.

Bagre De Rio

Miami-Dade County

Unknown

ICTALURIDAE

NORTH AMERICAN CATFISHES

 

 

Ictalurus furcatus

Blue Catfish

Calhoun, Escambia, Gilchrist, Okaloosa, & Washington counties, elsewhere in northern FL

Established (most of area)

Failed (Okaloosa Co.)

Unknown (Washington Co.)

Pylodictis olivaris

Flathead Catfish

Calhoun, Escambia, Liberty, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, & Washington counties, elsewhere in northern FL

Established (several areas)

Failed or unknown elsewhere

LORICARIIDAE

SUCKERMOUTH ARMORED CATFISHES

 

 

Ancistrus sp.

Bristlenosed Catfish

Miami-Dade County

Established

Farlowella vittata

Twig Catfish

Hillsborough County

Unknown

Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps

Leopard Pleco

Alachua County

Unknown

Hypostomus plecostomus

Suckermouth Catfish

Broward, DeSota, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, & Polk counties

Established (most of area)

Unknown (Hillsborough Co.)

Hypostomus sp.

Suckermouth Catfish

Hillsborough, Martin, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, & Seminole counties, elsewhere

Established (throughout)

Pterygoplichthys anisitsi

Paraná Sailfin Catfish

Brevard, Marion, Okeechobee, & St. Johns counties

Established

Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus

Vermiculated Sailfin Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus

Orinoco Sailfin Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pterygoplichthys pardalis

Amazon Sailfin Catfish

DeSota, Glades, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, Sarasota, & St. Lucie counties

Established

Pterygoplichthys sp.

Sailfin Catfish

Much of central and southern FL

Established (much of area)

MASTACEMBELIDAE

FRESHWATER SPINY EELS

 

 

Macrognathus siamensis

Spotfin Spiny Eel

Miami-Dade & Monroe counties

Established (throughout)

MORONIDAE

TEMPERATE BASSES

 

 

Morone chrysops

White Bass

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis

Sunshine Bass

Much of northern and central FL

Stocked

Morone saxatilis

Striped Bass

Gadsden, Hernando, Lake, Martin, Orange, Polk, & Walton counties

Established (Gadsden, Hernando, Polk, & Walton counties)

Failed, extirpated, or collected (elsewhere)

NOTOPTERIDAE

FEATHERFIN KNIFEFISHES

 

 

Chitala ornata

Clown Knifefish

Lake, Palm Beach, & Pinellas counties

Failed (Lake & Pinellas Co.)

Established (Palm Beach Co.)

OSPHRONEMIDAE

GOURAMIES

 

 

Betta splendens

Siamese Fighting Fish

Manatee & Palm Beach counties, elsewhere

Failed (throughout)

Colisa fasciata

Banded Gourami

Not specified

Failed

Colisa labiosa

Thicklipped Gourami

Hillsborough County

Failed

Colisa lalia

Dwarf Gourami

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Macropodus opercularis

Paradise Fish

Palm Beach County

Failed

Osphronemus goramy

Giant Gourami

Not specified

Collected

Trichogaster leerii

Pearl Gourami

Palm Beach County

Failed

Trichogaster trichopterus

Three-Spot Gourami

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Trichopsis vittata

Croaking Gourami

Palm Beach County

Established

OSTEOGLOSSIDAE

AROWANAS

 

 

Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

Silver Arowana

Broward, Monroe, & Osceola counties

Failed

PANGASIIDAE

SHARK CATFISHES

 

 

Pangasianodon hypophthalmus

Iridescent Shark

Hillsborough County, elsewhere

Failed

PERCIDAE

PERCHES AND DARTERS

 

 

Perca flavescens

Yellow Perch

Gadsden & Liberty counties, Apalachicola drainage

Established

Sander canadensis

Sauger

Gadsden County

Established

Sander vitreus

Walleye

Orange County

Failed

PIMELODIDAE

LONG-WHISKERED CATFISHES

 

 

Leiarius marmoratus

(no common name)

Miami-Dade County

Unknown

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

Redtail Catfish

Bay County, elsewhere

Failed

POECILIIDAE

LIVEBEARERS

 

 

Belonesox belizanus

Pike Killifish

Much of southern FL

Established (throughout)

Gambusia affinis

Western Mosquitofish

Alachua County

Failed

Poecilia kykesis

Péten Molly

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Poecilia latipunctata

Tamesí Molly

Hillsborough County

Failed

Poecilia reticulata

Guppy

Alachua, Brevard, Hillsborough, & Palm Beach counties

Unknown (Alachua Co.)

Failed (Brevard Co.)

Extirpated (Hillsborough & Palm Beach Co.)

Poecilia sphenops

Mexican Molly

Not specified

Failed

Xiphophorus hellerii

Green Swordtail

Brevard, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Palm Beach, Polk, & St. Johns counties

Established (throughout)

Xiphophorus hellerii x X. maculatus

Red Swordtail

Brevard & Hillsborough counties

Established

Xiphophorus hellerii x X. variatus

Platyfish/Swordtail

Not specified

Locally established

Xiphophorus maculatus

Southern Platyfish

Alachua, Brevard, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Palm Beach, & St. Lucie counties

Established (throughout except Indian River & Manatee Co.)

Unknown (Indian River & Manatee Co.)

Xiphophorus sp.

Platyfish

Brevard & Hillsborough counties

Unknown (Brevard Co.)

Established (Hillsborough Co.)

Xiphophorus variatus

Variable Platyfish

Alachua, Brevard,  Hillsborough, Manatee, Marian, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach counties

Established (throughout)

Xiphophorus xiphidium

Swordtail Platyfish

Not specified

Collected

POLYODONTIDAE

PADDLEFISHES

 

 

Polyodon spathula

Paddlefish

Jackson County & Apalachicola River

Failed

POLYPTERIDAE

BICHIRS

 

 

Polypterus delhezi

Barred Bichir

Broward County

Failed

POMACANTHIDAE

ANGELFISHES

 

 

Pomacanthus annularis

Blue Ringed Angelfish

Broward County

Unknown

Pomacanthus asfur

Arabian Angel

Broward County

Unknown

Pomacanthus imperator

Emperor Angelfish

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus maculosus

Yellowbar Angelfish

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus semicirculatus

Semicircle Angelfish

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus xanthometopon

Bluefaced Angel

Broward County

Unknown

POMACENTRIDAE

DAMSELFISHES

 

 

Dascyllus aruanus

Whitetail Damselfish

Palm Beach County

Eradicated

Dascyllus trimaculatus

Three Spot Damselfish

Palm Beach County

Unknown

Salmonidae

Salmon and Trout

 

 

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Rainbow Trout

Okaloosa & Walton counties

Stocked (1968)

Salmo trutta

Brown Trout

Not specified

Failed

SCATOPHAGIDAE

SCATS

 

 

Scatophagus argus

Scat

Levy & Martin counties

Collected

SCORPAENIDAE

SCORPIONFISHES

 

 

Pterois volitans &

P. miles (combined here due to morphological similarity)

Red Lionfish &

Devil Firefish

Throughout much of the Atlantic coast of Florida, nearshore to at least 60 miles offshore, less commonly encountered along the Gulf coast

Established (Atlantic coast)

Likely established (Gulf coast [see Schofeild 2010 for more info.])

Serranidae

Sea Basses

 

 

Cephalopholis argus

Peacock Hind

Broward, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Chromileptes altivelis

Panther Grouper

Brevard, Broward, Palm Beach, & Pinellas counties

Unknown

Epinephelus ongus

White-Streaked Grouper

Palm Beach County

Unknown

SYNBRANCHIDAE

SWAMP EELS

 

 

Monopterus albus

Asian Swamp Eel

Hillsborough, Manatee, & Miami-Dade counties

Established (throughout)

TETRAODONTIDAE

PUFFERS

 

 

Arothron diadematus

Masked Pufferfish

Palm Beach County

Failed

ZANCLIDAE

MOORISH IDOLS

 

 

Zanclus cornutus

Moorish Idol

Monroe & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Sources: Schofield (2010), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Fishes&state=FL&Sortby=1)

Exhibit 3 of JCS Introduced Fishes Writeup 012815

Below is a link to an interactive map showing the spread of the Red Lionfish and the Devil Firefish in the western North Atlantic from the 1980s to 2013:

http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheets/LionfishAnimation.aspx

Sources:

Adams, C.R. and N.M. Steigerwalt.  2010.  Research Needs and Logistic Impediments in Restoration, Enhancement, and Management Projects: A Survey of Land Managers. Publication ENH1161 [online resource]. Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Accessed 11/21/10 at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep423.

Didham, R.H., J.M. Tylianakis, M.A. Hutchison, R.M. Ewers, and N.J. Gemmell. 2005. Are invasive species the drivers of ecological change? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(9):470–474.

Elton, C.S. 1958. The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants. Methuen and Co., Ltd., Strand, London.

Idelberger, C.F., C.J. Stafford, and S.E. Erickson.  2011.  Distribution and abundance of introduced fishes in Florida’s Charlotte Harbor estuary.  Gulf and Caribbean Research 23:13–22.

Sala, O.E. F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, R.B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D.M. Lodge, H.A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N.L. Poff, M.T. Sykes, B.H. Walker, M. Walker, and D.H. Wall. 2000. Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774.

Schofield, P.J.  2010. Update on geographic spread of invasive lionfishes (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus, 1758] and P. miles [Bennett, 1928]) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Aquatic Invasions 5, Supplement 1:S117–S122.  http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2010/Supplement/AI_2010_5_S1_Schofield

U.S. Geological Survey.  2015. NAS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Species [online resource].  Accessed 01/23/15 at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.aspx?SpeciesID=963&State=FL.

Villazon, K.A. 2009. Methods to Restore Native Plant Communities after Invasive Species Removal: Marl Prairie Ponds and an Abandoned Phosphate Mine in Florida. MS thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Vitousek, P.M., C.M. D’Antonio, L.L. Loope, and R. Westbrooks. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. American Scientist 84:468–478.

Vitousek, P.M., H.A. Mooney, J. Lubchenco, and J.M. Melillo. 1997. Human domination of Earth’s ecosystem. Science 277:494–499.

Wilcove, D.S., D. Rothstein, J. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos.  1998.  Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615.

 

 

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Plastic Consumption in Burrow-Nesting Seabirds

 

Albatross with plastic FILEminimizer

Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS) the “Dinnerbell”

Research conducted at the University of California offers new evidence as to why burrow-nesting seabirds are driven to consume plastic. During these studies, scientists began to focus on DMS, a highly sulfuric infochemical formed during the enzymatic breakdown of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in marine phytoplankton. Scientists noted that in pelagic ecosystems, the amount of DMS increases while zooplankton are grazing on phytoplankton, which in turn triggers foraging responses throughout the marine food chain.

Marine Exposure on Plastic

Through a series of analyses, scientists tested the sulfur signature of the three most common types of plastic beads before and after marine exposure: high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). Using solid-phase microextraction (SPME), gas chromatography (GC), and a sulfur chemiluminescence detector (SCD), scientists concluded that plastics that weren’t exposed to saltwater had no DMS (sulfuric) signature; however, a DMS signature was detected on every sample that had been exposed to saltwater for 1 month.

Plastic Ingestion in Seabirds

Scientists began to compare plastic ingestion in seabirds that are DMS-responsive and seabirds that are nonresponsive to DMS and noted that DMS-responsive seabirds have a significantly greater plastic ingestion rate than birds that are nonresponsive to DMS. Scientists also studied plastic ingestion rates in both burrow-nesting seabirds and surface-nesting seabirds and noted that burrow-nesting seabirds illustrated a significantly higher frequency of plastic ingestion. In turn, the data combined suggest that burrow-nesting seabirds (such as the procellariform seabirds or the albatross) have a higher frequency of plastic ingestion because they are DMS-responsive.

More information concerning this study can be found in Science Advances Magazine at http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/11/e1600395.full

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Partner with Fishbrain APP Users to Track Florida Nonnative Freshwater Fish

 

In an effort to utilize the age of technology, FWC has partnered with the U.S. Florida Fish Wildlife Services and Fishbrain app with hopes to invite the 250,000 anglers currently using the app in Florida to help monitor 15 types of nonnative freshwater fish found in Florida waters.

The Fishbrain APP is a $5.99 IOS, Android friendly application designed to allow anglers from around the world to track their catches as well as to share useful intel with other users.

The use of a phone APP to collect scientific data among scientists and ordinary people is becoming increasingly popular and foolproof as inevitably technology only advances in automated recognition while our phones also have the capability to access and store other useful data such as GPS, date, time, tides and even the weather. Although the increase of such technological methods of collecting and storing data will likely benefit conservation, perhaps obsolete will be the old fashioned need to carry a clipboard and nostalgic will be the smell of sharpening a pencil, and gone will be the sloppy jittery jot of a scientist’s handwriting on actual paper.

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife news article can be found here:

http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2016/december/20/fishbrain/

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A Brief Summary of Laurel Wilt Disease in Florida and the Southeastern United States

A Brief Summary of Laurel Wilt Disease in Florida and the Southeastern United States

Recently, there has been considerable interest and research regarding the laurel wilt disease, which affects members of the Lauraceae family, most notably red bay (Persea borbonia) and swamp bay (Persea palustris).  This article attempts to summarize the aspects of this disease that are of particular interest to land owners and land managers of Florida and elsewhere in the southeastern United States.

The Story of the Ambrosia Beetle, a Symbiotic Fungus, and the Disease Called Laurel Wilt

The disease Laurel wilt is spread by a nonindigenous beetle called the Asian red bay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus.  This beetle measures only about 2 mm in length and is cigar-shaped and amber-brown to black in color.  This species has significantly less hair on its dorsal surface and is shinier than other species of ambrosia beetles.  The female ambrosia beetle spreads a nonindigenous fungus, Raffaelea lauricola, into the sapwood of a tree by boring pinhole-sized holes into the branches or trunk and either actively or passively depositing spores of the fungus in the tunnels.  The fungal spores are carried by the beetle in specialized pouch-like structures called ‘mycangia’ that are located at the base of each mandible.  Both adult and larval ambrosia beetles feed on the fungus growing in the tunnels.  Larvae are white with an amber-colored head.  Unlike most other species of ambrosia beetle, which attack dead or dying trees, the Asian red bay ambrosia beetle attacks healthy trees.  The native range of the fungus includes India, Japan, Taiwan, Burma, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.  As you probably guessed, the Asian red bay ambrosia beetle is native to Asia, including the same countries that the fungus is native to. 

The exact mechanism that causes death to a tree infected with the fungus and symbiont ambrosia beetle to die is unknown.  In simplified terms, the death of the tree is the result of it over-reacting to the presence of the pathogen.

The ambrosia beetle and associated fungus are thought to have arrived in the United States from Asia in untreated wood (such as wooden pallets) or in logs.  They were first detected in the United States in Port Wentworth near Savannah, Georgia, in May 2002.  The disease has since spread throughout the Southeast, from North Carolina south to Florida and west to Mississippi.

Relative Infestations of Laurel Wilt Disease among Infected States

State

Area of Coverage

Notes

Alabama

A few counties in the southwestern portion of the state

First detected in the state in 2011

Florida

Throughout most of the state

First detected in the state in 2005.  Not yet detected in some counties of the panhandle and in some the southwestern portion of the state

Georgia

Many counties in the southeastern portion of the state

First detected in the state in 2002, in Port Wentworth near Savannah

Mississippi

A few counties in the extreme southern part of the state

First detected in the state in 2009

North Carolina

Six counties in the southeastern portion of the state

First detected in the state in 2011

South Carolina

Many counties in the southern and eastern portions of the state

First detected in the state in 2004

What Tree Species Does Laurel Wilt Infect?

Although the beetle is named Asian red bay ambrosia beetle, it actually infects several other species, including both native trees and introduced trees of importance to the agricultural and ornamental plant industries.  Below is a list of species known to be susceptible to Laurel wilt.

Trees and Shrubs Known or Suspected to be Susceptible to Laurel Wilt Disease

Common Name

Scientific Name

Notes

Avocado

Persea americana

Introduced, important agricultural crop, important also to the ornamental plant trade

Lancewood

Ocotea coriacea

May be less susceptible to the disease than other members of the family, based on preliminary testing

Northern spicebush

Lindera benzoin

Pondspice

Litsea aestivalis

State-listed as endangered in Florida; demonstrated experimentally to be susceptible to the disease

Red bay

Persea borbonia

Sustained significant mortality due to the disease

Sassafrass

Sassafras albidum

Swamp bay
(incl. silk bay)

Persea palustris

Sustained significant mortality due to the disease

Southern spicebush (AKA pondberry)

Lindera melissifolia

State-listed as endangered in Florida; demonstrated experimentally to be susceptible to the disease

Summary of the Biology and Symptoms of Laurel Wilt Disease

The female ambrosia beetle, attracted to the smell of a red bay tree, bores into the branches or trunk of the tree and deposits spores of the fungus in the tunnels.  Initial symptoms are wilting of the leaves.  Often, wilting is seen in all the leaves associated with the distal portion of an infected branch.  More and more leaves begin to wilt over time as the disease progresses.  Mild discoloration may be seen in the sapwood and can escalate to extensive black/brown streaking over time.  Frass tubes, looking like white bent straws sticking out from the bark, begin to appear months later as beetle activity increases.  It can take as little as a week for a tree to die from laurel wilt during the warm summer months.

Both adult ambrosia beetles and their larvae feed on the fungus growing in the tunnels.  It takes some 30 days from the time the eggs hatch to the development of adult ambrosia beetles.  Males are smaller than females, lack wings, and are haploid.  Females are winged and are diploid.  The fungus can remain alive inside a standing dead tree for at least 1 year according to recent research.  The biology of laurel wilt disease remains poorly understood, and there is significant research to be done to understand the mechanisms involved in susceptibility and resistance.

Management and Prevention of Laurel Wilt Disease

It is no longer logistically feasible to eradicate or stop the progression of the disease considering how widely distributed it is in the southeastern United States.  However, one way to slow the spread on a given site is to cut down and chip dead trees killed by the disease and place the wood chips into piles.  The fungus was found to die about 2 days following chipping, and the ambrosia beetle population of the tree was found to be reduced by 99% following chipping.  The chipping will also reduce the wood available for female beetles to reproduce.

Use of the fungicide propiconazole (Alamo®), injected into the tree, was found to be only mildly effective (approximately 60% survivorship) at protecting red bay trees from the disease.  This treatment is expensive and testing for use against Laurel wilt has been limited so far.  Best results are achieved by systemic injection before any symptoms of the disease are observed on the tree and the pruning of any diseased areas following treatment.  Another method of injecting fungicide, developed by Arborjet®, involves delivering smaller amounts of fungicide using microinjectors.  The results of the effectiveness of the Arborjet® method have not been published as of this writing.  Similarly, the results of the effectiveness of applying fungicide to the soil around a tree have yet to be published.  Fungicides should be administered only by a knowledgeable professional or by the homeowner and in accordance with the instructions and mixing rates on the label.

Insecticides are unlikely to be useful at protecting a tree again the ambrosia beetle.  Broadcast spraying would be harmful to the environment and to beneficial insects, is not likely to be effective against the ambrosia beetle, and is therefore strongly discouraged. 

An attempt was made to protect some trees in Volusia County, Florida, by spraying Pinesol® as a way of “hiding” the trees from detection by the ambrosia beetle.  Pinesol® spraying took place at about 6‑ to 10‑week intervals.  However, all treated trees eventually contracted the disease and subsequently died.  It is possible that baits may be developed in the future that may be more attractive to the beetles than are the trees, but at this point in time no compounds have been identified for use as baits.

Anyone can help reduce the spread of the ambrosia beetle and the associated Laurel Wilt disease.  Refrain from moving untreated firewood far distances.  The State of Florida prohibits movement of untreated firewood farther than 50 miles within the state.  When camping, buy only local firewood or use certified firewood rather than bringing your own.  When traveling abroad, do not bring back untreated wood products or raw plant parts (including seeds or fruits).

Laurel wilt disease is one of at least a dozen tree diseases and insect pests within Florida or neighboring states.  Minimizing the movement of untreated wood and firewood can help reduce the spread of insect pests and diseases such as the emerald ash borer (kills ash trees), Asian longhorned beetle (kills maples), oak wilt and bot canker of oaks (kills oaks), spiraling whitefly (kills several native and ornamental trees), walnut twig beetle and thousand-cankers disease (kills walnuts), sudden oak death (kills oaks), and others.  The reader is encouraged to visit the website www.dontmovefirewood.org for more information.  

Sources and Further Reading:

Global Invasive Species Database.  2010.  Global Invasive Species Database, Raffaelea lauricola (fungus) [online database].  Accessed 10/17/2014 at http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1549&lang=EN.

Global Invasive Species Database.  2010.  Global Invasive Species Database, Xyleborus glabratus (insect) [online database].  Accessed 10/17/2014 at http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1536.

Spence, D. and J. Smith.  2013.  The status of Laurel Wilt.  Palmetto 30(3):4–5, 8–10. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.  2013.  Laurel Wilt Distribution Map [online resource].  Accessed 10/17/2014 at http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/laurelwilt/dist_map.shtml.

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Interesting Hunting Strategies Found in Nature

Humpback Whales and Bubble Net Feeding

bubble net feeding

One peculiar hunting strategy that humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) use involves the coordinated effort of a few whales, a shoal of fish, and bubbles.  The technique starts with one whale singing an eerie, high-pitched feeding call beneath a shoal of fish while the rest of the whales circle the fish and release bubbles that creates a net-like barrier that disorients the prey.  The combination of high-pitched noise and bubbles drives the prey into a tight group near the surface of the water.  Then the fruition of this coordinated effort occurs when the whales swim together directly up through the middle of their gathered prey with their mouths open, thus yielding a hefty bite.  Now that’s teamwork!

The Stoat and the Freak-out

stoat

The stoat (Mustela erminea), also known as the short-tailed weasel, when hunting an animal such as a rabbit, which can be much larger in size, uses a technique that is sometimes informally referred to as the ‘weasel war dance.’  During this performance, the stoat flips around making erratic movements while also honing in on its mesmerized prey, eventually switching gears from the nutty neighbor to the hungry slayer.

Cats in the Cradle

margay 2

The margay (Leopardus wiedii), a neotropical cat native to Central America, has been observed mimicking the vocalizations of rodents, birds, and even primates in order to attract its prey.  Cats are known for their physical agility, but this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study," said study researcher Fabio Rohe, of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Sources:

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Trouble with Burmese Pythons in South Florida

Trouble with Burmese Pythons in South Florida

Burmese pythons, one of the five largest snakes in the world, are native to Asia but more than 112,000 of them have been imported into the United States since 1990. Due to their big appetites and top predatory status, these snakes have become a huge problem for the economy as well as for South Florida’s residents, their pets, and many species of mammals and birds. While the struggle to eliminate this non-native species is in full gear, pythons are continuing to spread into other areas of Florida, which seems to be an ideal habitat for these ‘top-of-the-food-chain’ species. One biologist from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in Gainesville, Florida, recently invented a live python trap that is currently being tested in South Florida. Other control methods are still in place, such as restrictions against owning a Burmese python as a pet unless the pet owner has been ‘grandfathered in’ by owning one on or before July 1, 2010, in which case pet owners are required to maintain a ‘Reptile of Concern’ license. Click on the links below for more information concerning Burmese pythons.

Click on the link below for information on how to identify a Burmese python:

http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/python/identification/

Click on the link below for facts on Burmese Pythons:

http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/python/faqs/fast-facts/

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The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project is a federal project that authorizes construction of a protective and recreational beach along 4 miles of shorefront southward from the St. Lucie County line to near the limit of Stuart Public Beach Park (R-1 to R‑25). The project was initially constructed in 1996 and subsequently rebuilt in early 2005 after direct hits by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. The most recent renourishment was completed in April 2013 and involved the placement of approximately 510,000 cy of material along the 4-mile project area. The beach renourishment project is designed to provide storm damage protection to structures that would otherwise be threatened by chronic shoreline retreat and storm-induced beach erosion while maintaining an area suitable for recreation and wildlife habitat.

Martin County beach restoration 3 FILEminimizer

The east coast of Florida (including Martin County) supports one of the highest nesting densities of loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles within the southeastern United States. This particular beach renourishment event was unique in that it was selected as a pilot project to study the potential benefits of adjusting the traditional beach nourishment design template to ameliorate some of its negative effects on nesting sea turtles. This effort is supported by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Martin County, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The plan was to construct alternating traditional and “turtle-friendly” segments so monitoring could be implemented in a controlled environment to scientifically verify the performance of the turtle-friendly template without compromising storm-damage-reduction benefits. This construction project design included alternating equal-length segments of shoreline using the historical template with an experimental milder slope construction template. The experimental “turtle friendly” template consists of a construction berm commencing landward at an elevation of +6.5 NAVD88 with a 1 on 50 slope then 1 on 20 to MHW. One-time comprehensive monitoring will be conducted to determine if statistically significant improvements in nest densities and hatchling production can be achieved through modifications to the traditional construction template.

martin county beach restore 4 FILEminimizer

Since ANAMAR prepared the Supplemental EIS for this project, we were interested in seeing the project come to fruition. We were invited to visit the site during construction and we have included some pictures from our trip. We hope the turtles like their new beach!

Martin County beach restoration 2

 

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Prairie Creek Preserve

Prairie Creek Preserve

As promised, here’s another swampy gem that I enjoy exploring…Prairie Creek Preserve. This property is adjacent to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail near Rochelle (about 10 miles east of Gainesville) and encompasses about 368 acres that were acquired from five owners from 2004 to 2008, primarily with funds from Florida Communities Trust.

The Prairie Creek Watershed drains Newnan's Lake (a 6,000-acre lake west of the city) from the south on its way to Paynes Prairie and Orange Lake. Historically, the river drained into Paynes Prairie state preserve, providing the Prairie basin with much needed water. But in the early 1940s, Camp's Canal was constructed by the Camp family to divert most of the water to Orange Lake in order to block Prairie Creek from flooding the Prairie (www.gainesvillecreeks.org).

The Prairie Creek Preserve tract offers several miles of trails that wind through mixed hardwood hammocks, planted pine trees, and natural wetlands. The three main trails in the preserve are named for land conservation activists Jane Walker, Kathy Cantwell, and Susan Wright. The Jane Walker trail is one of my favorites. It’s about a 20- to 30-minute walk one way through a hardwood hammock that transitions into a cypress swamp and ends at the peaceful Prairie Creek. There is a picnic table that offers a place to sit for a spell and enjoy the scenery.

This trail system is not always accessible; sometimes it’s performing its natural function by storing flood-waters and providing a slow recharge to the aquifer. I love seeing the swamp full of water. When I walked here last spring, the creek was completely dry. It really gives you an appreciation for how dynamic the system is from season to season. I recommend a nice walk in the woods followed by a live concert at the Prairie Creek Lodge.

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It’s Time For Florida’s Non-Native Species Q & A!

It’s Time For Florida’s Non-Native Species Q & A!

Q: Are all of Florida’s non-native species invasive?

A: No, not all non-native species are invasive. Only the plants and animals that can actually survive are considered invasive species. According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, only 4% to 19% of all non-native species survive in the United States and actually become invasive. Two types of invasive species need to have special permits in order to be obtained: conditional species and prohibited species. Below are links to more information concerning these special permits as well as lists of the species covered by the permits.

http://myfwc.com/license/wildlife/nonnative-species/

Conditional Species:

http://www.myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/conditional-prohibited-species/conditional/

Prohibited Species:

http://www.myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/conditional-prohibited-species/prohibited/

** Pictured above is the Diaprepes Root Weevil. This Florida Invasive Species is said to eat the roots of citrus trees and cause harmful affects on over 270 different other plant species.

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