Introducing… some really bad things to Bermuda

Ah humans – is there nothing that can stop them messing up a perfectly good ecosystem? Before the arrival of man, the island was a forest of endemic trees and mangroves lined the coast. The Cahow, the Bermuda skink and a host of unique invertebrates also called Bermuda home.  First the pigs, then the humans and the rats that came with them, all played havoc on the island’s wildlife, and multiple species quietly went extinct.

The situation wasn’t helped when people decided to introduce species to control other creatures. The Great Kiskadee was brought in to control Anolis lizards in 1957. It didn’t work and the Kiskadee went on to threaten native bird species including the White-eyed Vireo and the native Bluebird. The birds also spread the seeds of invasive plants and are suspected of extirpating the Bermuda Cicada. People also introduced sparrows and starlings as they reminded them of home. Almost a quarter of the worst invasive species in the world live in Bermuda, including the Red-eared slider terrapin, Kudzu vine and Brazilian pepper tree.

 

Photo: Bernard Dupont CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50762045

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