Monday, November 1, 2010

Garden State Invasions

There was a good feature article this past Sunday in The Star Ledger on invasive species of foreign bugs, plants, animals and aquatic creatures that are invading New Jersey.

Invasive species are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range. They are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. Their vigor combined with a lack of natural enemies often leads to outbreak populations that threaten and endanger native species.

Did you know that NJ has a problem with feral cats and feral pigs?

Stink Bug  via
The East Asian stink bug is hitting the Garden State hard. And, yes, it does stink. (Quick! Make your own trap!)

Both the European green crab and the Asian Shore Crab are some of the aquatic creatures threatening our native populations.

Flathead Catfish caught in the Delaware River near Lambertville
The Flathead Catfish is normally found in the Mississippi basin, but has been found in NJ in places like the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

It might be exciting to think about catching one of these - they grow up to 100 pounds - but they can really do damage to the native populations of striped bass, eels, sturgeon and shad that they feed upon.

Giant Hogweed flower head
Giant Hogweed, which sounds like something from a sci-fi story, is a real species that can grow up to 20 feet.

It produces sap that cause blisters and severe burns that leave scars on humans.

And there is the carpet-like algae that has been seen on the Delaware River in 2008. It's probably a form of didymo, but has been given the disgustingly common name of "rock snot."

The Ledger article was written by Brian T. Murray who often writes about environmental issues in our state - from the fall season deer and car collisions, to invasive freshwater mussels discovered in Hunterdon County, and the way environmental issue mix with politics and business, as with windmill farms in NJ.

Further Reading

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