What is an exotic species? – Definition and characteristics of these species
Man throughout his history has contributed to spread the species to places other than your natural habitat. This gives rise to a variety, which is not native, it is called exotic. In this section, an explanation is given of what this group is, its characteristics and some examples are shown.
What is the definition of an alien species?
It is known as any kind of animal, plant, fungus and algae taken by man to a different habitat than its place of origin. They are also called introduced or foreign species. This it is not autochthonous nor native to the environment where it was taken. If not, they are inserted voluntarily or not by the human being.
These species have the ability to reproduce and adapt to the new space. Its traffic alters the destination ecosystem, since breaks your natural balance. Its proliferation could cause the flora and fauna of the area to become extinct and thus end biodiversity.
It should be noted that the only natural region on the planet where they do not exist exotic plants is Antarctica. The savannahs are the habitats least invaded by exotic vegetation. And temperate forests are the most affected.
On the other hand, records confirm that the first introductions date back to the 15th century, with navigation through the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. This produced the distribution of living beings outside of their area of origin.
This migration began in colonial times. Some trips were dedicated to transplant flora elsewhere for edible purposes. Exchanges of plants and domestic animals also occur. Giving room to the alien species.
What are the characteristics of exotic species?
- These groups create different behaviors than they presented in their environment of origin. What is due, to the changes found in the new place and to the conditions of nature.
- generate variations in reproductive patterns. In the case of abundant seed production plants. So there is an uncontrolled population growth.
- establish competition with the indigenous classwhich has not developed defense mechanisms.
- cause biodiversity loss. They change the environment. They affect trophic levels. Although not all are harmful to the new habitat.
- They threaten individuals at risk of extinction.
- alter the natural cycle of the nutrients.
- In the case of cattle, the emission of methane contributes to global warming.
- They can transmit infectious diseases. AND put public health at risk
What types of exotic species are there?
Within these are the following groups:
Introduced Species, is one that is not native to the site. It is carried by man intentionally, so that it forms part of the biodiversity of a given ecosystem. The introduction of this group can be with economic purposes.
As examples of these we have plants, agricultural animals and among insects the bee. The wheat It was introduced to many countries around the world from Mesopotamia. Similarly, plants for gardening purposes. The introduction of other groups has been with recreational Goals, such as the trafficking of animals for hunting and fishing or of some pets.
Naturalized Species, refers to the group of individuals who, in their trade, have established themselves and can live in a healthy way without harming the environment or native organisms. They are sustainable over time. They’re in free Statewithout direct human intervention, that is, in wild life.
Invasive speciesonce introduced to the new environment, reproduce quickly and They spread out of control. They have a long life, this is due to their great adaptability and high tolerance to environmental conditions.
Another factor that favors invasion is the absence of predators and the low diversity of native species. Climate change helps the expansion of invasive species. From the point of view of biology, they are harmful to nature. They cause damage to native flora and fauna. And they contribute to the extinction of the local biota.
Example of this is the crazy ant that has invaded Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. It has killed 3 million red crabs in 18 months. Similarly, avian malaria, which through its vector, the mosquito, has wiped out 10 types of native birds in Hawaii.
What is an exotic and native species?
It’s called exotic or alien due to the fact of leaving their place of origin and settling in a different or foreign habitat. They are specimens that man moves from one place to another intentionally or not. They endanger the ecosystem because their proliferation is violent.
For their part the native species It is in its natural region. It is native to or native to the habitat in which it lives, it has not been introduced, nor has it traveled by natural migration. It is well adapted to geographical conditions. It stays in balance with the other organisms in its environment. Its evolution has been going on for years.
The difference between autochthonous and exotic has its explanation in being native or not of the place where they are inhabiting. Human action can cause native families to disperse outside its natural arealy become an exotic species.
As examples of this, the green Iguana, native to Central America, can be found in Florida, where it becomes exotic. He water lily, native to South America. Which for its traffic was introduced into the lakes of Mexico.
What is an exotic and endemic species?
We will begin by explaining what the category is endemic. This refers to individuals who live in a specific region. They are well adapted, so they are not found of natural form in another place on earth. This means that it will never be an exotic species.
The area where an endemic population is distributed must have the optimal conditions for its survival, since they are quite susceptible to changes that may occur in their habitat. Whether they are climatic or man-made changes, such as the animals hunt. This is because these individuals are a small group, which makes them more vulnerable to extinction.
Examples of these include the Polar Bear in the Arctic, the orinoco caiman In Venezuela. According to Iberdrola, the Iberian lynx It is endemic to this peninsula. This is one of the most endangered cats in the fauna due to casual hunting.
Because these groups are in limited areas Due to natural barriers, such as rivers, lakes or mountains, their genetic exchange is reduced. Which leads to their having unique traits, typical of the place where they live, their diet, and the climate.
What is an exotic species of insects?
Insects are the largest group of animals on earth. They belong to arthropods, their body is divided into three parts: head, thorax and abdomen. The foreign or exotic species of these bugs refers to the animals of this genus that are introduced out from his source area.
Human activity has allowed them to reach places where they would not have arrived naturally. Such is the case of asian ladybug. Which was taken to Europe and other continents to control aphids. Its introduction has put into danger to native groups. According to biology, its ability to fly has also allowed it to populate another foreign area.
When their proliferation is on a large scale, they are called plague. Such is the case of some invasive species such as ant, black fly, crickets and others that They attack crops.
exist parasitic insects They feed on the blood of animals. In some cases they are carriers of diseases that affect humans. Zika, dengue, among others.
What consequences do exotic species have on ecosystems?
- These groups damage ecosystems, one explanation for this is that they act as predators. Which affects the development of local groups. Since they compete for food and space. And ultimately they can be displaced from their natural environment.
- They alter the chemistry of the soil, causing damage in sowing.
- They carry Parasites and diseases, to native space. They cause loss of biodiversity. And the death of indigenous groups.
- break the balance of nature, which is difficult to correct in a short time.
- In some cases, as indicated by Iberdrola impacts agricultural activity. It has consequences for public health.
What is the trafficking of exotic species?
It is understood as the smuggling of living beings, animals and plants. It is a practice that almost always evades the legislation of each country and threatens flora and fauna wild. It puts these groups at risk of extinction. Increases the damaging effects of climate change.
This business is characterized by animal abuse. Cruelly transported. Sometimes, their trade is to extract skins, elephant ivory, or the venom of some snakes, so they cause death. They thus contribute to the extinction of their population.
Other species are protected as is the case of the sea dragon. Haunted by collectors in Australia. Trafficking encourages these species, if released into another habitat, to become invasive. What alters the food chain.
This crime against nature also affects the human being. which runs the risk of being infected with some disease. Similarly, register deaths of park rangers and protected areas, the product of this smuggling. In summary, the trafficking of these species destroy wild fauna and flora and puts human life at risk.
To reverse this reality, the Iberdrola group, protect ecosystems through sustainable projects. Friendly with the environment. With emphasis on the care of native plants and animals, which guarantees the biodiversity.
Examples of exotic species
- Zebra mussel.
- Tiger salamander.
- Lion fish.
- Vitis vinifera.