Exotic Species

Native wildlife1, whether they be flora or fauna, have, over time, adapted to geographic areas and are part of specific ecosystems2 which are in balance. When removed from their native habitat3 and placed within a foreign ecosystem where there may be fewer or no predators (to keep their numbers in check) the ecosystem becomes unbalanced. When this situation occurs it can result in environmental chaos effecting the entire ecosystem that will often cause drastic change to the geography, diminished species diversity, extirpation4 or, with regard to endangered species, extinction.

If you've read the page on Honeybees then you already know "exotics" are introduced species and honeybees are exotics with regard to their introduction to the America's. For that matter so are you and I, assuming you aren't a "native" American. Of course, Homo sapiens, at one time, were also an introduced species.

Some Introduced species you may recognize are the very invasive Purple Loostrife , Garlic Mustard and Phragmites. The Asian Long Horned Beetle that arrived in scrap wood from China and are attacking Maple trees and the Japanese Beetle. Gypsy Moths introduced by a Mass. Astronomer in the hopes of creating a silk industry, Monk Parakeets with their gargantuan nests all around N.Y.C., Fire Ants, Africanized Honeybees introduced by a Brazilian scientist in the hope of creating a better honeybee than was had, the Zebra Mussel, a native of the Black Sea which may have found its way here in the ballast of ships, grows in such numbers it covers entire lake bottoms, clogs water works and has forced native mollusk populations to decline, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, which can spread West Nile Fever, and is also known to be an effective vector for other diseases including Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and certain types of encephalitis. The Sea Lamprey, generally marine5 they may have reached Lake Ontario through the Erie Canal. They attach themselves to fish via suckers and feed on blood and body fluids. European Starlings and House Sparrows released in New York by members of a local bird lovers society who couldn't imagine the damage done to local native species of birds by these very aggresive newcomers or the immense cost to farmers whose crops often feed Starlings whose flocks can contain millions of birds. See also here & here.


1 Wildlife: All living things not domesticated (except people).
2 Ecosystem: A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
3 Habitat: Place (environment) where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives and grows .
4 Extirpate: To destroy completely; exterminate.
5 Marine: Native to or inhabiting the sea.

Go to: Invasive Species Go to:
Go to: Mid-Atlantic List of Invasive Plants Go to: Profiles of exotic species
Go to: N.Y.S. Threatened/Endangered Species. Go to:Endangered and extinct species.

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