Alien Invasive Species

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 14, 2022, 14:59

An Alien Invasive Species comprises a group of species not native to a specific region (an introduced species) with a propensity to proliferate to such an extent that it causes harm to the environment, the human economy, or public health.

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

Alien Invasive Species - Overview

While all species strive for survival, Invasive 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.

Invading species tend to have just a narrow subset of predicted characteristics. Many identical traits are observed in noninvasive species, necessitating alternative explanations. The following are common Alien Invasive Species character traits -

  • Rapid expansion
  • Accelerated reproduction
  • Excellent dispersal ability
  • Phenotype plasticity (The capability to change growth form to suit the present environment)
  • Ecological competence (The ability to tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions)
  • Ability to survive on a variety of food types
  • Interaction with humans
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Alien Invasive Species - Zoological Survey of India

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 Alien Species (IAS), of which 58 are found on land and in freshwater habitats and 99 in marine ecosystems. The following are some of the most common Alien Species Invasion found in India:

  • African Apple Snail- discovered in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and has since spread throughout the country.
  • Papaya Mealy Bug- has severely harmed the papaya production in Assam, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Cotton Mealy Bug- a menace to Deccan cotton harvests.
  • Amazon sailfin catfish- caused the extinction of wetlands fish populations.
  • Orange Cup-Coral- 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- 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.

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Actions Taken to Combat Alien Invasive Species

  • CBD Article 8(h) and Aichi Target 9 seek to regulate or destroy Alien Species Invasion that endangers 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 IAS, including the Global Invasive Species Database and the Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species.

Since Alien Species Invasion is non-native to the ecosystem, they 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.

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FAQs on Alien Invasive Species

Q.1. What is an Alien Invasive Species?

Alien Invasive 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.

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

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

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

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

Q.4. What is an example of an Alien Invasive Species?

An example of Alien Invasive Species is the Grey squirrel.