Ecological Risk Assessment for Invasive Wildlife in Florida

Cane toad (Bufo marinus)

Global trade and travel transport plants and animals from native ranges to new ecosystems. About 10 to 20% of nonnative (exotic, alien) species that arrive in new locales become invasive, meaning they are likely to harm the environment, economy, or public health. Preventing the introduction of invasive species is the most effective way to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Once an invader begins to establish and spread, its control costs increase rapidly. Florida ports are the entry points for about half of the reptiles, arachnids, insects, and crustaceans imported into the United States. These arrivals, coupled with hospitable climate and habitats, have made Florida home to more invasive species than any other state but Hawaii. While it is too late to prevent the invasion of Burmese pythons and Argentine black and white tegus, we can act to prevent other potentially destructive species from establishing. This 6-page fact sheet written by Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, Kyle Allen, Rebecca G. Harvey, and Frank J. Mazzotti and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to assess the risk that a given invasive species presents to the environment and how to develop and use risk-screening tools to reduce the harmful effects of invasions or, better yet, prevent them entirely.

Freshwater Fish of New River, Belize

bay snook

Belize is home to an abundant diversity of freshwater fish species and is often considered a fishing paradise. The New River area is a popular freshwater fishing destination in the Orange Walk district of northern Belize. Here locals and visitors alike take to the lagoons and waterways for dinner or for good sportfishing. This 3-page guide written by Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, Kyle Allen, and Frank J. Mazzotti and published by the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department highlights the most popular species in the area and will help people identify and understand these species.

Biology of the Hicatee: A Critically Endangered River Turtle of Belize

Juvenile hicatee inside shell of adult

The hicatee (Dermatemys mawii) is a Central American river turtle and one of the 25 most endangered turtle species in the world. Over-hunting for meat, eggs, and shells is driving the turtles toward extinction. This 3-page fact sheet about the hicatee includes its natural history, reproductive habits, and ecology and describes the international conservation efforts to save the fascinating but fast-disappearing turtle. Written by Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, Nathan Schwartz, Rebecca G. Harvey, and Frank J. Mazzotti and published in November 2015 by the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department.