International Lionfish Web Portal

A new lionfish web portal, providing information and services that will be useful to coastal managers, researchers, educators and the general public, has been launched. The website, a collaborative effort from many cooperating partners across North and South America, as well as the Caribbean, will provide:

  • Live information feeds, including Twitter, Google news, YouTube videos, Flicker posts and others. 
  • A searchable database of lionfish related literature.
  • Image and video contests.
  • Myths busted, fact sheets, videos, web links and conference and workshop information.
  • A forum for researchers and educators to interact with members of the public and students.
  • Control methods and commercial harvesting resources. 
  • Links to lionfish management plans.
  • And much, much, more!

Visit the web portal at for this information and learn among other things--what to do if stung today!

Speared adult lionfish. Photo Credit: Mickey Charteris, Caribbean Reef Life

Lionfish sightings 1985-2014. Photo Credit: USGS Nonindigenous Species, 
Save the Date!
National Invasive Species
Awareness Week

National Invasive Species Awareness week is February 22nd to 28th. Events will be taking place across the nation, to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues at the local, tribal, state, regional and national levels.

Learn more about the National Invasive Species Awareness Week and add your local event to a national map by visiting

February 22-28, 2015

Invasive Spotlight:
Giant Reed
(Arundo donax)

Arundo donax, known as giant reed, giant cane, carrizo or Spanish cane is one of the southern United State's most devastating riparian invasive species. Introduced from Asia, northern Africa and Europe, Arundo was likely first introduced in America in the early 1800s in California. 

Arundo is a tall, perennial grass that can grow to heights over 20 feet. It has fleshy, creeping rootstocks that form compact masses from which fibrous roots emerge to penetrate deeply into the soil. Leaves are elongate, 1-2 inches wide and can be over 1 foot long. Flowers are presented in 2-foot long dense, plume-like panicles during the late summer and fall. 

The plant chokes riparian areas and stream channels, crowding out native species, interfering with flood control, increasing fire potential and reducing habitat for wildlife. Fragments of Arundo can float miles downstream when broken apart, forming new infestations. 

In recent years, this species has spread widely along the Rio Grande river in Texas. New proposed legislation calls for the eradication of the plants "to the greatest extent practicable." Read more at Fusion

Follow the link to learn more about Arundo donax
Arundo donax patch. Photo credit: Eleanor Forfang-Brockman, Cross Timbers Invaders. Invaders of Texas Program. 
Invaders of Texas Arundo donax citizen scientist observations
More News

Native vs. Non-native Distribution Assessment  Surprises Researchers 
The first comprehensive assessment of native and non-native plant distribution in the continental United States surprises researchers. University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers find non-native plants are much more widely distributed than native species, even when the non-native species make up a smaller, sparser population. Learn more at Science Daily.

Study Suggests Citizen Science Projects Rely on Heavily on Dedicated Users 
Data generated at suggests that most citizen scientist projects are reliant on only a small group of dedicated users.  The study found that after the initial publicity of a new project subsided, most users immediately abandoned the project. Read more at Arstechnica.

Pennsylvania Artists Craft Cocktails With an Invasive Species 
Artists Zya S. Levy and Kaitlin Pomerantz bring their outreach project, We the Weeds, to the Schuylkill Environmental Education Center in Philadelphia.  The artists crafted cocktails, infusing the drinks with both native and non-native invasive plants in an effort to educate the public on the impacts invasive species have on an ecosystem and shift the discussion away from “good plant vs. bad plant” sensationalism.  Read more at Vice
Plans for Big Spring Being Developed as Nearby Horse Park Prepares to Open 
The Great Trinity Forest in South Dallas is preparing to open the Texas Horse Park near the Big Spring.  Planning for the spring has come into focus as a major question still remains left unanswered: how to maintain the environmentally sensitive spring and still have public access. Learn more at Dallas News.
Can Native Plants Species Become Invasive?
Invasive species are opportunistic, often spreading to new areas through human activity.  When thinking about invasive species, non-native plants usually come to mind.  As Texas’ landscape changes, more aggressive native species are spreading to new areas.  Can native plants become invasive and how do we manage it? Read more at Native Plant Society of Texas.
Studying Dynamics in Bird Communities Helps Native Birds 
Australia’s Nation Environmental Research Program’s Environmental Decision Hub and the University of Queensland are studying how invasive bird species interact with each other, plant communities, and native bird species to help manage these invasive birds. Learn more at Bird Bullies.
Study Shows Invasive Fire Ants Help Invasive Plants Spread 
A study done in Ontario shows invasive fire ants help spread invasive non-native plant species spread.  The study compared seed preference and distribution between native woodland ants and three species of native wildflower seeds and invasive European fire ant and one invasive wildflower species.  Findings showed the fire ant selected the non-native seeds. Read more at Science World Report
Tawny Crazy Ant Possible New Ag Threat 
The tawny crazy ant came to Houston about 10 years ago and is showing signs that it is expanding its range.  While the ant itself is currently not a threat to agriculture, the aphids they tend have the potential to devastate Texas agriculture. Learn more at Mineral Wells.
China Struggles with Invasive Species 
China struggles with invasive plant and animal species as the country becomes more developed.  Infrastructure such as pipelines and canals are becoming highways for invasive aquatic plants and fish.  Foreign insects kill thousands of trees.  Aside from a list of agricultural and forestry pests, China lacks the regulations and plans to manage the invaders. Read more at Chinatopix.
New Oregon Economic Report Shows Value of Invasive Species Management 
The new economic impact study published in December analyzed 25 of the most noxious weeds in Oregon.  The study concluded that an estimated $83.5 million had been lost due to these invasive species.  Of the 25 selected, about $79 million was from two species alone.  Management of the 23 other species has been able to keep the 2014 estimates around the same level as the 2000 impact study. Learn more at
Asian Citrus Psyllid Not Found at Higher Elevations
A two study has shown that the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which spreads greening disease to the trees, prefers low elevation trees.  The study sampled 17 ranging from 10-880 meters above sea level and found a correlation between increasing elevation and decreasing Asian Citrus Psyllid populations. Read more at Nature World News.
New Wave of Drones Will Sample Water and Track Invasive Species 
The next generation of drones is being designed with water in mind.  Multiple prototypes are currently being developed to aid researchers and industry in tracking oil leaks and invasive species through onboard water sampling equipment. Learn more at MIT Technology Review.
New Director of Inland Fisheries for TPWD From East Texas 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has named Craig Bonds as the new Director of Inland Fisheries.  Invasive species management, long-term solutions to aging reservoirs, and expanding the angler community top his list of priorities going into office. Read more at Tyler Paper.
White Fringe Tree Now Threatened By Emerald Ash Borer
Dr. Don Cipollini of Wright State University has found evidence of the Emerald Ash Borer feeding on white fringe trees in Ohio.  Once thought to only attack ash trees, the Emerald Ash Borer has seemingly expanded its host range. Learn more at Phys Org.
Ports First Defense Against Invasive Species
USDA insect identifiers and Customs Border Patrol agricultural specialists working at Mariposa Port of Entry and Nogales act are tasked with catching potential invasive insect species before they enter the United States. Read more at Nogales International.

If you would like your invasive species event or news listed in the next iWire, please send the details to


Project of the Month
It Could Be Yours!

The team is pleased to announce competitive small grant support for supplies and equipment for invasive plant control to eligible applicants in Texas. 

Eligible applicants include cities or counties, state agencies, tribal organizations, conservation districts, non-profit organizations or Invaders of Texas Citizen Science Program Satellite Groups. 

Target populations of invasive plants are required to be validated observations within the system and all treatment information must be recorded using the Eradicator Calculator treatment database. 

To learn more about this new opportunity, please view the Request for Proposals. Proposal submission will be due by 5:00 pm CST on March 15, 2015. 

If you have questions, please contact

If you would like to highlight a successful invasive species project or nominate a special person to be highlighted in an upcoming iWire, please send the details to


obs 2

Invaders of Texas Citizen Scientist Observations 2005-2014. 

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Species Workshops

Invaders of Texas workshops train volunteers to become citizen scientists to detect and report invasive species. Workshops include information on the Sentinel Pest Network which serves to increase the awareness of early detection of Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, Asian Longhorned Beetle and other pests of regulatory significance.

Workshops are tailored to meet the interests of your volunteer group and supplementary session examples include an introduction to the TX Invaders mobile application and the Eradicator Calculator, a feature on designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

We have funding from USDA APHIS and the Texas A&M Forest Service for more workshops in the upcoming months, so schedule your free workshop, today!

Upcoming Workshops:

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Location: Texas Invasive Species Institute (Huntsville, TX)
Contact: Ashley Morgan

Saturday, March 13, 2015
Location: Jesse H Jones Park & Nature Center (Humble, TX)
Contact: Rose Holmes

For more information or to register to attend a workshop, please visit the Workshop Page.