Non native species refer to organisms that may have been transported from areas of their habitat to others by nature or by human interference.
Non native species are also called alien or exotic, but sometimes they can also become invasive causing major damage to the native flora and fauna of the area.
Non native species examples include:
- Burmese python
- Cane toad
- Gypsy moth
- Water hyacinth
- European wild rabbits
- The brown tree snake
- Sea lamprey
- Red fox
- Japanese beetle
- Comb jelly
- Silver pheasant
- Sweet clover
- Zebra mussels
- Kudzu plant
- Grass carp
Next, we will discuss the above-mentioned non native species examples in a little detail.
Points about the listed non native species examples:
The Burmese python is technically one of the most heard of among the non native species examples listed above. Native to Southeast Asia and is one of the large snake species in the world with almost no known predator. Although the species was considered endangered, it was introduced into America via the pet trade and has now become an invasive species in the everglades of Florida.
Though the cane toad is indigenous to South and Central America it is a non native species example in the Caribbean and Australia. Initially introduced into the areas to get rid of unwanted pests in the sugarcane fields, it has now become a pest itself. It considerably preyed on several native reptiles and cause a great disbalance in the natural biodiversity.
The gypsy moth Lymantria dispar dispar is native to Eurasia and is a non native species example. Originally brought to North America for scientific and commercial purposes, the most were accidentally released that causing them to be introduced into the ecosystem. It is not the moths but the larvae that are a cause of nuisance simply wiping away native vegetation in the blink of an eye.
Native to South America, the plant was introduced in Asia during colonial rule. Hence it became one of the most well known non native species examples on the list. Known for its pretty flowers, the water hyacinth started as an ornamental plant but later became an invasive species choking ponds, rivers, canals and irrigation waterways.
European wild rabbits
Originally native to Europe and the Mediterranean the European wild rabbits were introduced into Australia in the 1800s. Unlike in their native lands, in Oceania, they had no natural predators and hence their population boomed. They are now considered pests due to the extensive damage to crops and native organisms.
The brown tree snake
Another significant animal among the non native species examples mentioned in the list is the brown tree snake that is native to Australia and parts of New Guinea. The snake was accidentally introduced into the South Pacific Island of Guam somewhere between the 1940s to 50s. The snake had no natural predators there but ended up preying on most of the native bird species and its population boomed.
The lamprey is probably the most ancient of all the non native species examples mentioned in the list. Native to the Northern and western waters of the Atlantic ocean they are the oldest of the known vertebrates, literally living fossils. These fish are parasitic feeding on other larger marine life and are non native to the Americas, where they have taken over the Great Lakes.
The red fox is indigenous to Europe but was introduced to the continent of Australia for recreational hunting somewhere in the mid 19th century. These mammals are voracious predators and reproduce at an alarming rate. They have caused several ground-dwelling birds, mammals and some reptiles like the green turtle populations to seriously decline.
Beetles from Japan are an invasive variety among the non native species examples. Japanese beetles eat the leaves, flowers, and fruit of over 300 different plant species. Turf grass pests include Japanese beetle grubs. They gnaw at the grassroots, turning the grass dark and causing them to die.
These rodents are native to South America but are considered among the non native species examples as they were introduced to the US in 1889 for fur production. But when the market collapsed in the 1940s hundreds of them were released into the wild and without any natural predators, they went about causing havoc. They not only destroy crops but also destroy embankments, ditches and canals required for natural irrigation and water flow.
Though the com jelly is native to the cold waters of the Atlantic in North America it has spread to the seas and oceans of Eurasia and become a threat to local wildlife. Because these jellies compete with fish and fish larvae, they can affect commercial fisheries by cascading effects on vital planktonic food webs. They also have longer feeding durations compared to their native colder counterparts.
The silver pheasant that is native to Southeast Asia and was introduced into parts of Europe and became one of the non native species examples considered exotic. Introduced to Victoria Island in 1962 mainly for ornamental purposes, the island had a pounded a substantial population by 2002.
Another non-invasive variety among the non native species examples mentioned in the list the sweet clover is a plant native to Europe. It is especially good for attracting bees and butterflies and was imported to America for ground cover and to facilitate pollination of food crops. They have naturalized in the Americas and cause no disbalance in the ecosystem.
Lionfish, which are native to the Indo-Pacific maritime region, are rapidly spreading along the East Coast’s coastlines and coral reefs. Lionfish are voracious feeders, and their toxic dorsal spines have protected them from natural predators in the Atlantic thus far.
As evident from their Latin name Periplaneta americana, the common cockroach was originally native to the Americas. They came to Asia among the material in the bows of ships and flourished in Asia due to the optimum temperatures and humidity.
Zebra mussels are a small, invasive gastropod that is endemic to Eurasia’s freshwaters. The black, zig-zagged stripes on each shell give them their name. In the 1980s, zebra mussels most likely entered the Great Lakes by ballast water released by huge ships from Europe. They stick to other local marine and freshwater wildlife and often end up killing them. This has put great pressure on the native riverine and freshwater fauna.
Kudzu is a Japanese and Southeast Chinese plant that is another invasive variety among the non native species examples mentioned in the list. The “Vine that Ate the South” was first brought to North America in the nineteenth century to strengthen embankments. But later they overtook the local flora often killing them.
Grass Carp is the last of the non native species examples mentioned in the list. The Grass Carp is a plant-eating fish that was introduced to the United States to limit the growth of plants in aquaculture ponds.
Several Grass Carp strayed into the Mississippi River basin during flooding shortly after their arrival and have subsequently spread throughout the United States. But now it has greatly increased in number and is wiping out several important marine and riverine floras along with competing with native fish and animals for food.