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3 March 2011

The Global Invasive Species Database

Out of interest, I carried out an internet search to see whether there was such a thing as a global invasive species database and I found that it did exist.  It would be prudent if people were to find out which species were on the invasive list in their own countries and try to control the spread of these species for the good of the environment.  "The Global Invasive Species Database is managed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. It was developed as part of the global initiative on invasive species led by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and is supported through partnerships with the National Biological Information Infrastructure, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research and the University of Auckland."

I then carried out a search to see which species were deemed to be invasive in Tunisia and the database came up with a list of 67 invasive species.  Here is an extract from the invasive species list for Tunisia:

"3. Carpobrotus edulis (succulent)
Carpobrotus edulis is a mat-forming succulent native to South Africa which is invasive primarily in coastal habitats in many parts of the world. It was often introduced as an ornamental plant or used for planting along roadsides, from which it has spread to become invasive. Its main impacts are smothering, reduced regeneration of native flora and changes to soil pH and nutrient regimes.


4. Caulerpa taxifolia (alga)
Caulerpa taxifolia is an invasive marine alga that is widely used as a decorative plant in aquaria. A cold-tolerant strain was inadvertently introduced into the Mediterranean Sea in wastewater from the Oceanographic Museum at Monaco, where it has now spread over more than 13,000 hectares of seabed. Caulerpa taxifolia forms dense monocultures that prevent the establishment of native seaweeds and excludes almost all marine life, affecting the livelihoods of local fishermen.


8. Ctenopharyngodon idella (fish)
Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) is a large cyprinid introduced worldwide as a biological control of aquatic vegetation as well as a food fish. It is a voracious feeder which is incredibly efficient at removing aquatic weeds. However they can completely eliminate vegetation from water systems, resulting in widespread ecological effects. Grass carp are also known to compete with native fish, carry parasites such as Asian tapeworm (Bothriocephalus opsarichthydis), and induce other harmful effects to introduced waters.


13. Imperata cylindrica (grass)
Congon grass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive grass native to Asia that is highly invasive in southeastern USA pine flatwoods and in tropical savannas. Cogongrass establishes vast, monotypic stands that alter ecosystems and community structure by displacing native vegetation, altering fire regimes and reducing species diversity. It is an extremely problematic agricultural weed throughout Asia and Africa that reduces yields.

18. Oxyura jamaicensis (bird)
Oxyura jamaicensis (ruddy duck) is native to North America. It was imported into wildfowl collections in the UK in the 1940s and subsequently escaped to form a feral population from which birds are now spreading as far as Spain, where they threaten the globally endangered white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) with extinction through introgressive hybridisation and competition. A regional trial of control measures, in which over 2,000 birds have been controlled, is ongoing in the UK. Control programmes are also in place in France, Spain and Portugal and are urgently needed in The Netherlands and Belgium. Oxyura jamaicensis are relatively easy to shoot as they tend not to leave water-bodies during control activities.


1. Ceratitis capitata (insect)
Ceratitis capitata is considered a major tephritid fruit fly pest of economic importance attacking more than 300 different hosts, primarily temperate and subtropical fruits. The medfly as it is commonly called has invaded many countries and caused major economic losses for fruit farmers. C. capitata has the ability to tolerate cooler climates better than most other species of fruit flies. It lays its eggs under the skin of fruit, usually around already broken skin. Due to this reproduction habit, C. capitata thrives in agricultural areas where fruit is left out and becomes damaged. It spreads to new locations via exports and the local sale of fruit that contains eggs." 
http://www.issg.org/database/species/search.asp?st=sss&sn=&rn=Tunisia&ri=19380&hci=-1&ei=-1&fr=1&sts=&lang=EN
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