Student Research Page
How would you feel if someone came to visit you, and then started to eat all your food, take over your bed, hog all your stuff and then invite all his friends and family to stay with you and do the same thing?
An invasive species doesn't share food, water or space. It takes over. This is very bad news for the native species that lived in that habitat! They either have to move, change or die.
This month we're talking about "exotic" invasive plants or aminals. These species spread quickly, come from a different place, and don't have enough disease, parasites or predators to keep them from harming a habitat. Not all new species are invasive. Most can't survive in the wild. But, for those that can, they can destroy a native habitat.
Take a Closer Look!
This is Giant Salvinia. It is native to southeastern Brazil.
When it starts to spread, it looks like this:
But before long, UCK! it took over this Texas pond!
Look at the "before" and "after" images about what happens under the water when aquatic invasive species take over! Many of the different kinds of fish that were there before are gone!
image courtesty Sea Grant
Why We Like Native Species
Native plant, animal and insect species that are part of a balanced ecosystem doesn't let any one species take over the habitat. There are producers, consumers, predators, prey, even soil and water play an important part of an ecosystem. This makes native species a better choice for our landscaping and other purposes.
Native plants will cost us less because they are adapted to the area. Generally they use less water. Native plants require fewer pesticides. They use their natural resources better, and need little or no fertilizer. They are less likely to take over a habitat.
Native species also provide the right nutrition for other species. Other foods usually aren't as healthy.