The Invasive Species Risk

Native plants, mammals, fish, mollusks, insects, and many other types of terrestrial and aquatic species, generally co-exist within native habitats, maintaining a balance of food, shelter, and predation.  

When a new species is introduced it is considered “non-native.” These non-native species can, but do not always, wreak havoc. Non-native species may exist alongside native species, but each alters the native habitat in some way. Non-native species examples might include the introduction of a sport fish, such as the small mouth bass to rivers and streams where it is not natively found, or the broad variety of plants, shrubs, and trees found at landscape nurseries or available online.

“Invasive species” are non-native species that have detrimental impact on ecosystems and native species. Invasive species vigorously compete for food and shelter resources and prey on native species. Ill-equipped to defend against the invasive predators, native species are at risk.

Invasive species are often spread through innocuous actions or activities like boating, fishing, land development, or the transport of firewood. Other examples include the release of aquarium pets into a local lake or waterway; planting invasive vines which spread quickly and smother native plants, trees, and habitats; or the use of insects like the Chinese praying mantis to control other garden or agricultural pests.

No matter how they arrive, invasive terrestrial and aquatic species are hitchhiking their way across Pennsylvania and beyond and controlling and/or eradicating them is expensive. Pennsylvania Sea Grant works with partners and resource managers across the state by providing training, outreach and educational materials, and programs for communities and landowners – all in an effort to reduce the spread and stop the invasive hitchhikers. 


Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011