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Posts Tagged "invasive species"

Culturing Science

Cats Are Ruthless Killers. Should They Be Killed?

cat-eating-bird-200px

Every few months, the fact that domestic cats are ruthless killers hits the news. This past summer it was the Kitty Cam, memorably explained by webcomic The Oatmeal, which saw nearly one-third of cats kill 2 animals each week on average. In 2011 a study found that domestic cats were responsible for nearly half of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Unusual Night Lizard Returns after Eradication of Invasive Species

Island Night Lizard

A rare reptile found only on a few islands off the California coast has become the latest species to recover and leave the protection of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported this week. The island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) originally faced threats from nonnative species such as goats, pigs and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Poisoning Dingoes Has Domino Effect on Australia’s Biodiversity

dingo

Australia has a long history of poisoning its dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), which have an unfair reputation of preying on sheep and other livestock. But according to a new study, killing the country’s native canines may have had unintended consequences, dramatically impacting the biodiversity in regions where dingo populations have been reduced or removed. The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Kakapo Baby Boom in New Zealand: First New Chicks in 3 Years [Video]

kakapo

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila), the critically endangered flightless parrots of New Zealand, have an unusual mating ritual. In the rare years when the birds breed, the males climb to the tops of hills, breathe in so deeply they swell up like balloons and then let out a series of deep, rhythmic booms that can be heard [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tea and Consequences: Unsustainable Cultivation Puts Honeybush Tea at Risk

honeybush tea infusion

The Web sites selling sweet-smelling honeybush tea proudly proclaim its supposed health benefits, which range from lowering cholesterol and improving respiration to controlling the symptoms of menopause. Although none of these claims have been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is some minor research backing up a few of these benefits. That [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Jamaican Iguana Conservation Program Marks 20 Years of Success, Faces Worries about Next 20 Years

jamaican iguana

More than a million tourists visited Jamaica last year. The vast majority of them traveled to the famous hotels and beaches of Kingston, the country’s capital city. Few, if any, ventured about 25 kilometers to the west to the rocky limestone shores of Hellshire Hills. If they had, they might have seen something not many [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Squeaking By: Frog Species Rediscovered in Ghana, but Invasive Devil Weed Threatens Its Survival

Arthroleptis krokosua

It took four years, nine people and countless man-hours, but a team of scientists has finally rediscovered the “giant” Krokosua squeaker frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), a critically endangered species that has not been seen in its native Ghana since 2009. Unfortunately the Sui River Forest Reserve, where a single adult frog was found earlier this month, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Hemlock Extinction Looms over Tennessee Forests

hemlock sq

The branches of the massive eastern hemlock loom more than 30 meters above us, but instead of craning our necks to look up Tennessee state botanist Todd Crabtree draws our attention closer to the ground and the thumbprint-sized dot of yellow paint near the base of the tree. This little dab of color is the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Dig This: Decline of Australian Digging Mammals Impacts Entire Ecosystems

bandicoot

How much soil would a bandicoot dig if a bandicoot could dig soil? Quite a lot, it turns out. The southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) weighs just 1.4 kilograms, but over the course of a year this tiny digging marsupial can excavate more than 3.9 metric tons of soil as it builds its nests and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Egg Swap for Operatic New Zealand Birds a Success, but Invasive Predators Create Discord

kokako david cook sq

New Zealand used to be home to two subspecies of the rare birds known as kōkako (Callaeas cinereus). Today only one subspecies remains. The South Island kōkako was last seen in 1967 and was finally declared extinct six years ago. Conservationists are determined to save the remaining subspecies, which can still be found in the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Once Extinct in the Wild, Galapagos Giant Tortoises Return to Pinzon Island

pinzon island tortoise adult

Now here’s a great conservation success story: After more than 100 years, Galápagos giant tortoise hatchlings finally have a chance to thrive and survive on their native Pinzón Island, after conservationists cleared it of the invasive rats that nearly wiped out the animals. Like most Galápagos giant tortoises—including the conservation icon Lonesome George, who died [...]

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Guest Blog

Barberry, Bambi and bugs: The link between Japanese barberry and Lyme disease

If you type "Japanese barberry" into a search engine, the first result will likely be a National Park Service Web page designed to look like a "Wanted" poster. "LEAST WANTED" is written across the top. It’s a fact sheet about the ecological threat posed by this invasive shrub. Add the word "buy" to your search, [...]

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Guest Blog

The Asian long-horned beetle: Hopefully not coming to a neighborhood near you

Burncoat Street is a wide, suburban avenue above the industrial center of Worcester, Mass. Lined with single-family clapboard and brick houses, churches, an elementary and a high school, Burncoat Street is a typical New England neighborhood. Or was a typical New England neighborhood. Lately, something is missing. 18,095 somethings are missing. The trees. In 2008, [...]

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Guest Blog

The decade the clones came: Beware the mighty Marmokrebs!

At the start of the decade, I had no idea that the invaders were among us. No scientist did. Invasions are like that sometimes. We expect invasions to be like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds: a large force arrives suddenly, announcing its presence with a voice that cannot be ignored. But sometimes they’re more [...]

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Observations

Wormholes in Art Trace Species through Time and Space

wormhole art woodblock print dating beetle species

Wormholes aren’t just for time travel or teleportation anymore. Some very real and ancient wormholes are now helping to trace the distribution of insect species and artwork. A biologist found himself in the unlikely world of centuries-old European woodblock print art. There, he discovered that many of the small imperfections in the prints could be [...]

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Observations

A Proposal to Introduce Elephants to Australia: Really?

elephants

Why not bring elephants to Australia? That’s the proposal made by biologist David Bowman of the University of Tasmania in a comment published February 2 in Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) The pachyderms could help to polish off gamba grass, introduced from Africa to Australia in the 1930s as fodder for [...]

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Symbiartic

Invasive Species Inhabit Painting

Head_of_Orpheus-mini

  Looking at Symbolist Master Gustave Moreau’s Orphée I am struck by something. No, not the exquisitely beautiful severed head. The two box turtles hanging out in the corner, trying to be under the radar. I may not be a cheloniologist, but l think those are North American Box Turtles. Or possibly Indian Star Tortoises. Indian [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Forget Kaiju. Japan’s Real Invaders Are Much Furrier.

rascal

Tales of monsters invading Japan are a longstanding tradition, usually involving menacing kaiju—literally “strange creatures”—rising from the sea to wreak havoc on a Japanese city. At this very moment, the country is engaged in just such a war, with an entire army of invasive creatures, but they’re both less fearsome and more adorable than Godzilla [...]

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