Alien Invasive Species

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Dec 28, 2022, 19:00

Invasive Alien Species refers to any plant or animal species introduced by humans knowingly or unknowingly in a new environment outside of its native range. Invasive Alien Species have the propensity to proliferate to such an extent that it causes harm to the environment, the human economy, or public health due to their rapid growth.

As per researchers, Invasive Alien Species become harmful when they get intentionally or unintentionally introduced outside of their natural habitats, where they compete effectively with native species and disrupt the ecological equilibrium.

Invasive Alien Species - Overview

While all species strive for survival, Alien Species have certain features or mixes of traits that enable them to outmatch native species. In some circumstances, competitiveness is based on growth and reproduction rates. In other cases, species interact more directly with one another.

Invasive Alien Species tend to have just a narrow subset of predicted characteristics. Many identical traits are observed in non-invasive species, necessitating alternative explanations.

Characteristics of Alien Species Invasion

Alien Species have a range of distinct characteristics. Some of the common character traits in such species are -

  • The ability to expand rapidly.
  • Accelerated rate of reproduction.
  • Excellent dispersal ability
  • The capability to change growth form to suit the present environment (Phenotype plasticity).
  • The ability to tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions.
  • Ability to survive on a variety of food types.
  • Human interaction.

Alien Species in India

To identify the Invasive Alien Species in our country, the Zoological Survey of India and the Botanica Survey of India jointly organised the National Conference on the Status of Invasive Species in India, at which the ZSI announced a list of alien invasive animal species. The following are the findings of the Zoological Survey of India.

ZSI has identified 157 Invasive Invasive Alien Species (IAS), of which 58 are found on land and in freshwater habitats and 99 in marine ecosystems.

Common Alien Species found in India

The following are some of the most common Invasive Alien Species found in India:

  • African Apple Snail - It was discovered in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and has since spread throughout the country.
  • Papaya Mealy Bug - It has severely harmed papaya production in Assam, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Cotton Mealy Bug - This Alien Species is a menace to Deccan cotton harvests.
  • Amazon sailfin catfish - It caused the extinction of wetlands fish populations.
  • Orange Cup-Coral - It evolved in the Indo-East Pacific and is currently found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Gulf of Kutch, Kerala, and Lakshadweep.
  • Primrose willow - This Invasive Alien Species is a type of aquatic plant endemic to Central and South America. It thrives in wetlands with sandy and mineral-rich soil. It is currently expanding to Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and West Bengal.

Difference Between Alien Species and Invasive Alien Species

There is a difference between Alien Species and Invasive Alien Species. We have shared the points of difference between the species here -

Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species

Species that are non-native to a particular area and have been brought there through human intervention are known as Alien Species.

These are alien species which are capable of causing destruction to the other species native to a particular environment.

Alien Species may not always out-compete with the native species of a particular area.

Invasive Alien Species always ends up out-competing the other native species of an area.

These species may not cause ecological imbalance.

These species cause serious ecological imbalance.

They reproduce at a normal pace.

Alien Species Invasion causes rapid growth and reproduction

Actions Taken to Combat Invasive Alien Species

Since Alien Species Invasion is non-native to the ecosystem, it may cause economic or environmental harm and harm to human health. The most efficient strategy to reduce the harmful effects of Alien Species is to prevent their proliferation by restricting the trade or migration of a species.

  • CBD Article 8(h) and Aichi Target 9 seek to regulate or destroy Invasive Alien Species that endanger ecosystems, habitats, and species.
  • The Global Invasive Species Program assists in implementing CBD Article 8(h) with the IUCN as a partner organisation and working to address the global danger to IAS.
  • The IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group is also actively promoting and expediting the transfer of IAS knowledge & information around the world and establishing links between policy-making and the flow of data.
  • The IUCN has also created a variety of worldwide databases that provide essential information on Invasive Alien Species, including the Global Invasive Species Database and the Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species.

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FAQs on Alien Invasive Species

Q.1. What are Alien Species?

Invasive Alien Species are animals, plants, or other creatures that have been brought into regions outside of their natural range, causing harm to native biodiversity, ecosystem services, or human well-being. Alien Species are sometimes deliberately planted in an environment.

Q.2. What are some of the Invasive Alien Species discovered in India?

Some of the Invasive Alien Species found in India include Alternanthera philoxeroides, Cassia uniflora, Chromolaena odorata, Eichhornia crassipes, Lantana Camara, Parthenium hysterophorus, and Prosopis juliflora, among many others.

Q.3. How many Alien Species are found in India?

The Zoological Survey of India has identified 157 Invasive Alien Species, of which 58 are found on land and in freshwater habitats and 99 in marine ecosystems. Invasive Alien Species are capable of causing harm to the other species found in its environment.

Q.4. Why are Invasive Alien Species considered a problem?

Invasive Alien Species species can cause harm and can even lead to the extinction of many other species. Since Alien Species Invasive is quite widespread and rapid, it invades the environment it has been put in and gradually takes over it by reproducing swiftly.