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Evolution of Florida's Invasive Populations.......

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jaydsr2887, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    So just some random thoughts ive thrown around in my head since keeping tabs on the invasives in florida..... ive always thought that every creature is at one point in time in history was considered to be an invasive species to that area they are at now.... and ive always thought that possibly over time this epidemic that florida has on their hands would one day naturally find a way to balance itself out possibly such as the smaller natural creatures that the populations are being decimated by the invasives will disappear and the some that have a fighting chance against them will grow big enough to fend for themselves against the Burmese pythons or tegus or nile crocs and monitors.... or the python will become the apex predator and stay the same size while the alligator grows big enough to defend itself basically the strong taking out the weak and eventually the system will balance itself out, the animals evolve to sustain themselves in the natural rhythm of the ecosystem and the ecosystem evolve to support these invasives..... like almost the whole ecosystem become one big example of a full environmental divergent evolutionary process..... I dunno if it is possible but I do think it is........ what is you all's take on this subject.....
     
  2. safftaft

    safftaft Well-Known Member

    As a Floridian that enjoys the outdoors I think the invasive species are a terrible plague on the ecosystem. I think under normal circumstances the ecosystem would eventually kill off a single invasive species. But the problem is that Florida has so many invasive plants and animals that some people don't even know whats endemic to the area anymore.

    Your theory may work but not in any foreseeable future because the larger invasive species such as tegus and burms are better at eating the lower orders that allow the natural apex predators to grow so there may not be any left that have the time to eveolve defensive measures. The other side of the coin is that lower order organisms are being depleted more and more rapidly as the invasive populations boom. Some studies have theorized that certain species might be wiped out from areas completely already. I can't link the study because it's from my university's database but it's a study done on the effects of burms in the Everglades. Basically they went out and searched so many sq miles and tracked sightings of possible food sources for the snakes while trying to find any actual burms. They found zero burmese pythons but found historical decreases in raccoons, opossums, frogs, and rabbits. Almost all of the species listed were viable food options for burms and all were found to have decreased by at least 70% in the last two years i think.

    Anyway, to end the lecture, the invasives are most likely here to stay but once their food is gone they'll hopefully move north and die out from the wrong temps or stay and starve. But they are taking away a lot of the natural resources from already threatened species that have a right to be in the wild/ecosystem. And just to clarify, there's a boat load of species that are invading Florida that aren't "man-eating" reptile monsters as most of the old folks down here like to say.
     
  3. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    yeah I know there is the caine toad, the Gambian pouch rat, th rheses monkey.....just a few
     
  4. safftaft

    safftaft Well-Known Member

    Reese's monkeys are actually kind of funny I don't mind them as much as the howler monkeys that silver springs released into the Osceola forest. Those guys are fierce. There's also tokay geckos, ball pythons, green iguanas, seems like a million species of anole, Cuban tree frogs, boas and tarantulas just to name a few that are pets that frequently get released. We also have UF to thank for love bugs and some weeds along with the army corp of engineers for what I call swamp weed but it's a plant that was used to firm up some kind of embankment along the St. John's river and then went wild. The point I like to try and make to people is that we've already messed with the ecosystem enough with trying to expand and build societies why do we allow a minority of people to make it worse.
     
  5. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member


    I think you're thinking of Rhesus Monkeys? :p

    Macaca mulatta. Funny enough, I came close to owning one once.. However, I didn't exactly have $5,000 to spend on a monkey at the time. They're illegal to own altogether now so it's no longer an option
     
  6. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    well the thing with the rhesus monkey that is making quite a stire is the fact they are carriers of the herpes b virus that is very deadly to humans
     
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Love bugs are actually not a lab grown organism. They are native to Texas, I believe, and were introduced. I think one theory was that engine exhaust is similar in composition or odor to their natural pheromones, and as a result, highways and roads lured them across the country.

    The other idea is that they were tested as mosquito control, and ate mosquitoes well in experimental settings, but when released in Florida, found plenty of things to eat other than mosquitoes.

    I heard it said that between 30-50% of all the species currently living in Florida are non-native. Including plants. many of which are introduced by gardeners and farmers.

    Oranges are not native at all.

    The ecosystem will eventually balance out, but that is a process that takes millions of years.

    Evolution favors the most adaptable organisms. Those most able to change. In that respect, many of the things we have introduced are very adaptable. They can adapt to new prey items, and new habitats quite readily.
     
  8. Awano

    Awano Member

    The problem with the introduction of non-native species is that they displace the native species. If left unchecked there would be a balancing within the ecosystem, but it would likely result in the extinction, wholly or regionally, of some native species who are not adapted to living in this new system and can no longer succeed within it.
    I am not really sure what the specifics effects of Burmese pythons (or other large constrictors) have on the local ecosystem but I would not doubt if it is highly exaggerated by the fact that people are generally scared of snakes to begin with. Being completely predatory limits them to only be competing with other predators. Also, I am under the assumption that large constrictors will generally choose to eat larger infrequent meals when possible.
    I would think that animals like tegus would be a far larger threat to a natural ecosystem because of their larger variety and frequency of appetite. The increased variety causes them to compete for resources with more native fauna and the increased frequency of meals allows them to do it much more often than a constrictor.
     
  9. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Nobody mentioned feral cats. I know they're an issue, and would be likely to prey on the same smaller game items you mentioned. Odd to find such a decrease and not find burms if they had anything to do with it. Although I can't link anything to prove it, I think the invasive large constrictors are far less an issue than Florida's DNR or whatever they call it would have us believe. After all, it far easier to get funds for an invasive python hunt than to get public approval to hunt feral cats.
     
  10. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    yeah I agree, just because feral cats are fluffy, and fluffy is your common pet and if someone would be asking to have a open game day for feral cats, its "oh your a monster!" but you mention open game on a large constrictor or lizard them everybody is game for it...... and its proven everywhere in the usa that feral cats and dogs are the biggest problem as far as invasives go and they are highly adaptable due to them being warm blooded....
     
  11. safftaft

    safftaft Well-Known Member

    This is what I've been made to understand, I'm not sure if it's FSU folklore or what but the lovebugs are supposedly from asia and were introduced by UF professors as a mosquito deterrent in Gainesville which spread.

    The reason people rarely find the pythons in the Everglades is because they tend to search during the day but only in places you can easily access by walking. If you're smart you'll get an airboat and travel the waterways, but even then you most likely won't see them because they can blend into the environment so well. Most people see them when they're basking near retention ponds and the concrete canals around South Florida. Once spotted though they go into the pipe. Pythons are a problem but I think they aren't as bad as other species that go unnoticed.

    The FWC is the organization that handles all invasive species issues. They've got a cool website tooFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission To deal with feral cats we should just bring Bob Barker out of retirement.
     
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I think the 3 most dangerous (in terms of ecological damage) species (other than humans) are cats, swine, and rats. We have consistently introduced those to every place we have colonized, with drastic and negative effects on local wildlife.
     
  13. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    Love bugs migrated into Florida and if memory serves, they do not actually eat mosquitos.

    The way I see it, it's all natural. We are nature just as much as the boids, insects, varanids and the grass. Introduction has always been a form of species dispersion and adaptation or extinction is the way life sorts itself out. You can't deal with the differences, your time here is done.

    They say the burms are destroying natural wildlife, however recent captures and autopsies showed that all of the animals had been feeding entirely on rats. (at least a few days up until their demise.)

    They say hogs are introduced, but have been recorded to be in Florida since the 1500s. At what point do we consider something naturally born? And as mentioned before, feral cats do more harm than any of these other animals we are so worried about. Makes me feel this is more of an agenda instead of a "Save our wildlife" move.

    If Florida was really worried about Natural fauna, I wouldn't be seeing all this clear cutting that's going on around Gainesville/Alachua County to put up shopping malls and Apartments. It also wouldn't be a requirement for Pest and Wildlife companies to dispatch every "problem" mammal they captured.
     

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