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invasive species

Florida’s wildlife agency will be holding a lionfish summit in the Fall. The goal is to find more ways to get rid of the spiny invasive species plaguing state waters.

A man with a python hidden inside an external hard drive was stopped from boarding a Florida plane headed to Barbados.

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

An invasive and destructive pest has been identified in the farmlands near Miami, Florida agriculture officials said Tuesday.

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

Measure Targeting Invasive Species Signed

Mar 27, 2018

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

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

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

  Saturday is "Lionfish Awareness and Removal Day" in Florida. Lionfish are an invasive species off Florida's coasts. People in southwest Florida are studying the fish's impact and others are helping to keep the invasive species' population under control. 

Bill Sets Limits On Nonnative Pet Sales

Apr 4, 2017

The Florida House okayed a bill to limit the sales of nonnative animals by pet dealers. The Bill hopes to discourage nonnative sales altogether.

Florida is a prime breeding ground for invasive species that can threaten the state’s ecology and economy. For every lionfish or Burmese python that’s captured, thousands remain. And the sheer scope of the problem is pushing some lawmakers to ask how much of a difference state funding actually makes.

Florida’s invasive species problem can be daunting, with real implications for the state’s ecology and economy. The breadth of the issue is spurring some lawmakers to ask if state funding makes a difference.

When a diver who was also a volunteer for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation saw a fish that looked out of place in the waters off Dania Beach in October, she sent a photo to REEF, a marine conservation nonprofit based in Key Largo.

South Florida is a hotspot for invasive species, and the exotic plants, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that take root in the subtropical region of Florida can cause harm to the ecology, economy, and even human health.

From invasive Burmese pythons to Argentine black and white tegus, from Clown Knifefish in the water to the climbing, coiling kudzu plants, Florida’s native plants and animals face displacement by nonnative species.

Burmese pythons, lionfish, african land snails -- these are just a few of the invasive species considered threats to Florida ecosystems. And the fact that you really can't snuggle with serpent, a venomous fish or a disease-carrying mollusk perhaps makes them easier to eradicate.

But what does Florida do about a potential invader that's a little on the cute side?

Nile Crocodile Latest Invasive Threat In Florida Everglades

May 23, 2016
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Researchers say the Nile crocodile could become the Everglades’ latest invasive top predator.

Researchers are concerned about another nonnative species moving into Florida waters. Schools of the regal damselfish now live in coral reefs on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico. The fish are not harmful, but they could be a nuisance.

Registration begins soon for the Python Challenge, which encourages hunters to kill or capture pythons in the Everglades for cash prizes.

Florida’s fishing industry has dealt with its fair share of problems, with oil spills and grouper shortages. But as Matthew Seeger reports, an article from Florida Taxwatch exposes another problem- ecological damage caused by a hungry little troublemaker known as the lionfish.

A beetle-rearing lab run by high school students may help combat an invasive plant species plaguing Florida parks and yards.

The lab run by students at TERRA Environmental Research Institute will be unveiled on Wednesday.

IFAS

Giant lizards called Argentine black and white tegus are coming out of hibernation right now -- and they're in the Tampa Bay area. Wildlife officials say the invasive species eat everything -- including the eggs and hatchlings of native animals that conservationists are trying hard to protect.

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

Giant African land snails have invaded Florida and pose a "major threat" to the state's crops, according to Mark Fagan, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture. "We're producing food that the nation depends on ... [and this snail] eats 500 different plants, including pretty much everything that grows in Florida," Fagan said. Experts say the snails were likely smuggled into the United States as pets or for religious uses. They're thriving in Florida, where the hot, humid climate closely resembles that of their native Nigeria.

African Land Snails were first spotted in Florida in 2011, and their numbers are growing, Reuters reports. More than 1,000 are being caught each week in Miami-Dade County and more will continue to emerge from hibernation in the coming weeks. The snails can gnaw through stucco and plastic, and attack "over 500 known species of plants ... pretty much anything that's in their path and green," Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, told Reuters.