10 Invasive Species Threatening Ontario

Asian carp

* The Asian carp is silver in colour and is native to Asia
* They can grow 1.3 metres long and weigh up to 50 kg
*  Since the 1990s this species has increased greatly through the Mississippi, Iowa and Illinois rivers
* New prevention methods have been established such as increased trapping and netting in rivers, field tests of chemicals to lure the carp, and an acoustic water gun to scare them away

European green crab

* The European green crab threatens shell fish stocks on the Atlantic coast by preying on mussels, clams, and other crabs
* Aggressive and territorial crab species, where its impact unless controlled will be felt in Newfoundland’s ecosystem
* Seen near Prince Edward Island, Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island and the waters off southern Newfoundland

Purple loosestrife

* Introduced to Canada from Europe in 1800s
* Degrades wetlands and also invades pastures and cropland
* Destroys and kills native plants
* Single plant can produce over 300,000 seeds

Zebra mussel

* Millions of dollars a year spent dealing with zebra mussels by industries with operations on the Great Lakes
* Zebra mussels reproduce rapidly and block intake pipes and sink navigational buoys
* This species removes large amounts of phytoplankton which affects the local food chain

Sea lamprey

* Primitive and parasitic fish
* Arrived from Atlantic Ocean through cargo ships
* Mouth consists of a suction-cup that can kill more than 18 kg of fish they prey on
* The species mouth is capable of breaking through the skin of a fish and making sure it dies

Emerald ash borer

* To stop the spread of this beetle, transportation of firewood is banned in certain areas in Quebec and Ontario
* Originated in eastern Asia and found in 2002 in Windsor, Ontario
* Larvae burrow through inner bark of ash trees and young beetles feast on the leaves and eventually kill the tree
* Very difficult to detect early and infested trees aren’t found until a year or more after infestation


* Native to North America
* Algae forms slimy clumps and mats in rivers that make the water appear polluted
* The Didymo species may affect the growth of other algae

Gypsy moth

* Gypsy moth larvae eat the leaves of approximately 300 plant
* Gypsy moth found in Ontario and Quebec but have been threatening parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
* This species will also eat blueberries, hazelnuts and several other important crops

Asian long-horned beetle

Originated from China and attacks hardwood trees such as maples
* In Canada this species was first found in Toronto and city of Vaughan in 2003
* Strict quarantine has been place in affected areas and officials are trying to get rid of them
* Said to have been brought over to North America in packaging materials used in shipping

Round goby

* Fish that steals bait from fisherman
* Found in Ontario’s St. Clair River brought from eastern Europe
* Reproduces rapidly that there are now more than 100 per square metre on the lake or river bottom in some areas.


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