Top 10 Invasive Species in the U.S.: The Plagues of the 21st Century

The National Wildlife Federation released a list in 2012 identifying the plagues of the 21st century as, you guessed it, invasive species.  

The 10 Plagues:
1. Asian carp:  outcompete natives
2. Cane toads: secrete toxins that harm wildlife
3. Starlings: damage agriculture and airline industry 
4. Kudzu: “Vine that Ate the South”
5. Giant reed: impact ecosystems and infrastructure
6. Zebra mussels: impact food chain and infrastructure
7. Stink bugs: infest homes, gardens and croplands
8. Emerald ashborer: killed millions of ash trees in U.S
9. Burmese python: prey on native wildlife
10. Climate change: exacerbate the invasives problem 

These species are impacting the environment and America's economy, learn more about the Top 10 and how to stop the spread of invasive species.
Asian Carp Control in the Great Lakes: Options to Protect the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced in May that they will present Congress and the public with a study by 2013 that identifies potential solutions to control Asian carp in the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin.

Congress requested this information under the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, specifically to evaluate prevention options for invasive species transferring from the MS River and the Great Lakes.  The Corps is planning to release an assessment in 2013 that will detail the options along with costs and mitigation for each option.  

The Obama Administration has invested over $150 million to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp intrusion through extensive monitoring, removal and prevention, in addition to developing new technologies to control the spread of this invasive species. - Read More.  

University of Texas is Fighting Imported Fire Ants: Zombie Syle

The University of Texas at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory is conducting research to combat Solenopsis invicta (imported fire ant), which has caused over $1 billion dollars in damages to Texas alone.  

Their research efforts are focused on using a biocontrol method, phorid fly species (Pseudacteon sp.) and pathogens, for fire ant control.  The phorid lies lay eggs inside of the fire ant, which then causes the ants to act in a "zombie-like" state before death.  

The "Fire Ant Project" researchers are evaluating where,which season, and how this biocontrol method will be utilized in Texas. - Learn More
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Native Shrimp Beware: Asian Tiger Shrimp are Encroaching Gulf Coast Waters

Penaeus monodon (Asian tiger shrimp) are raising concern for native shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico.  In 2008 there were only 21 reports of this invasive species, while last year the numbers jumped to 591.  The first official report in Texas was made in Aransas Bay in 2011.
The tiger shrimp can grow up to 13 inches in length, while native white, brown and pink average only 8 inches.  Additionally, native shrimp weigh significantly less and may serve as a food source for their invasive counterpart.  The increase in predation and competition has federal biologists concerned for native shrimp and the eco-balance of the marine food chain.  
This jump in reporting, "is the first indication that we may be undergoing a true invasion of Asian tiger shrimp", says James A. Morris a NOAA Coastal Fisheries marine biologist. - Read More.

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More News

Slogans to Raise Invasive Species Awareness
Last May Illinois supported Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) with an invasive species education slogan play-off.  "Hello Invasive Species.  Goodbye Texas" was included, check out the others here

University of Florida Found a Natural Compound That Fights Invasive Pests
UF researchers found that a chemical called pregeijerene, released by citrus tree roots when attacked, attracts nematodes that feed on insect pests. - Learn More.

Oregon State University Conducting a Citizen Scientist Study
Participation in citizen science is not well understood. If you currently volunteer as a citizen scientist, please fill out this survey to help Oregon State understand how and why people participate in citizen scientist programs.

"Eco-Dogs": Bomb-detecting Dogs Used to Find Pythons in Florida 
A collaboration between the Canine Detection Research Institute and the University of Alabama are using canines to find invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades National Park. - Learn More

Non-native Animal Hunts in Texas 
The continued controversy over hunting exotic species in Texas aired on 60 minutes. Does hunting in Texas help to conserve species that are potentially endangered in their native range? Read More

Rasberry Crazy Ant Task Force Meeting 
Approximately 20 representatives from the City of Austin, Travis County Natural Resources, TPWD, USFWS, LCRA, and others gathered at the Travis County Rasberry crazy ant (RCA) colony to discuss controlling the new infestation along the Colorado River. Learn More about the RCA.

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


NOW LIVE: The Eradicator Calculator  

The Eradicator Calculator is now live on  This feature was designed to ensure that volunteer-based eradication efforts don't go undocumented.  It provides a forum to publicize eradication events, track efforts by date and location, and quantify the costs associated with invasive species eradication.

Volunteer groups led by state, municipal, nonprofit, and concerned citizens alike can post events and submit post-event details through the Eradicator Calculator. Posting past events helps build the Eradicator Calculator database, which helps track the amount of time and money spent on controlling invasive species.
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Give Us Your Old Eradication Data! 

We are building the Eradicator Calculator database, and extending a ONE TIME ONLY offer where we will enter your data for you into the Calculator.  

If you have the following information documented for your past eradication events: 
(1) Target species
(2) Location
(2) Volunteer hours
(3) Staff hours (if applicable)
(4) Eradication Method

please contact Jessica Strickland

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Citizen Science Workshops

Sentinel Pest Network & Invasive Species Workshops
These workshops supplement the Invaders of Texas program by training citizen scientists to identify and report invasive pests of regulatory concern like Emerald Ash Borer and the Cactus Moth while they are out looking for invasive plants. The morning session will cover non-native, invasive pests, and the afternoon session will be a refresher course on non-native, invasive plants that occur in your area. 

Saturday July 28, 2012
Location: Rosenberg, TX
Contact: Margo "Mac" McDowell


Invaders of Texas & Invasive Species Eradication Workshops
The morning session of these workshops will cover the Invaders of Texas program, focusing on training citizen scientists to identify and report invasive plants.  The afternoon will cover best management practices for control and eradication of selected species.  We will also cover a new feature on, the "Eradicator Calculator", which is designed to help organize and record volunteer-based eradication efforts.  

Saturday September 15th, 2012
Location: Houston Arboretum
Contact: Jessica Strickland

For more information or to request a workshop, please visit our Workshop Page.

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