Yet another invasive reptile in Florida....

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robmcd

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When does it end? How does it end? At this rate, native wildlife in south Florida could be doomed in the next 100 years.
 
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Deadeye

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I thought it was bad when I can’t even find a green anole anywhere in Florida because of the brown ones. Now another lizard gets to compete...at least they look cool.
Hopefully it can get under control, with not just the agamas, but all of them. It shouldn’t be that all of Florida’s most well known reptiles short of alligators are not even supposed to be there.
 
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Kolton13

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Looks like a fancy bearded dragon. I love it! not the fact thats invasive because that sucks, but it looks cool!
 
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Deadeye

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Looks like a fancy bearded dragon. I love it! not the fact thats invasive because that sucks, but it looks cool!
I agree on colors. Check out the Spider-Man agama, even more colorful (might be the same species).
 

esoxlucius

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Not the lizards fault, it's the stupid humans that release them. And won't get fixed cause we humans still have not figured out how to fix STUPID...
Agreed, the situation of owning exotic pets in warm/hot climates is always going to end this way. And it's the stupid minority who give the genuine responsible owners a real bad name.
 

jjohnwm

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Okay, I'll be clear: I completely agree that this is a problem, caused by people, and has potential for becoming more and more of an issue as time passes. The genie is out of the bottle, and there is no putting him back in.

But, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here for a second. I have spent my entire life listening to every new-and-improved "ecological disaster" that is supposedly looming on the horizon, each one more capable than the last of destroying life as we know it. Each of these introduced species is the next eco-killer, which will decimate native populations and upset the balance of nature. Each one is poised to spell doom. You know what? It never seems to happen that way.

When Zebra Mussels arrived, they were going to outcompete native fish fry for micro-food in the water column. They were going to filter out all the planktonic organisms, starving out the hatchling fish and clarifying the water which would lead to choking algae problems. Well...the water is much clearer in many areas than it was before they arrived...but fish populations seem healthier than ever. Fishing is better. Aquatic plants grow more luxuriously and in deeper water than they used to grow...or maybe it would be more accurate to say that they grow like they used to before we clouded and polluted the water in the first place. Yep, the mussels cause some problems for industry, by clogging pipes and such...and of course some egghead statistician comes up with a figure of $650,000,000,000,000.00 that they are supposedly costing us, so I guess they are destroying the economy as well as the ecology...but the horror stories never seemed to come to fruition.

Purple Loosestrife was an escapee from people's gardens a few decades back. It was destined to wipe out native wetland vegetation. Vast tracts of swampland would be overrun with a mono-specific culture of loosestrife, which would support no native insects, birds and other animals. The wetlands would be silent wastelands...lots of pretty purple flowers but nothing else. When loosestrife first arrived on my rural acreage, I slaved for several summers pulling it out by the handful, burning it with an agricultural flamethrower, cutting with a bushhog and generally waging war on the stuff to no avail. Three summers after it arrived, I had acres of the stuff and I was worried. Would I lose the wonderful wetland ecologies that I so enjoyed watching and admiring? Nope! Two summers further down the road, and the loosestrife was reduced to almost nothing. It wasn't anything I did... I had already given up the fight...but it just died back to a small, steady population and stayed that way for the remainder of the decade, until I moved away. It was just like so many other introduced species; it rapidly spread, reached a peak, and then died back to a much lower, more stable level.

Invasives must be discouraged, no doubt about it. There need to be controls in place to prevent unwanted introductions, because...you never know...the next one might be the planet-killer! I continue to eradicate House Sparrows and Starlings when they appear in my birdhouses, I am ruthless when it comes to killing non-natives when I can do so. But...sorry, I just can't panic about them anymore. I've been sold a bill of goods too many times by hand-wringing, doom-and-gloom environmentalist talking heads; I just don't believe them any more.

Anybody on MFK has to be very careful about getting too shrill regarding the horrors of introduced species. We pay big money to have species collected around the globe, or bred in captivity, and then we gleefully bring them home to keep them as pets. Accidents happen; worse yet, the pandemic...not the Covid-19 one, I am referring to the Stupidity Plague that never slows down and has no vaccine...results in critters constantly being intentionally released, or just casually thrown out, and then establishing themselves. We are probably the biggest contributors to the problem. We can't sit on the porches of our glass houses and expect to throw stones at other people.

Dang...nothing like a hot summer day, a cold beer and a good rant to get the juices flowing...:)
 

krichardson

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The redhead's been there since the 70's so I suspect that it aint going anywhere anytime soon unless perhaps it becomes recognized as a tasty delicacy!
 

FLA

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Feb 1, 2017
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jjohnwm jjohnwm has it right. We always hear a horror story from someone like Dr. Falk who's budget is based on how much the public is willing to spend in tax money. Those contributions are dependent on how scared the public is of any potential catastrophe. We have heard this a hundred times in Florida. From walking cats to swamp eels, the damage is never as bad as everyone wants it to be.

What we see most often is these "invasive" species do best in disturbed habitats like parking lots or neighborhoods that give them refuge from predation and the occasional cold snap that knocks them out otherwise. Cuban tree frogs are common on houses I don't see them when I am wandering in the swamps. Occasionally I see one in a bathroom at a park, but not in the natural areas. I also see studies that claim range expansions when people who live in the area saw the animals for years. Researchers just didn't have time to check.

These agamas have been here since the 70's and have not caused any serious problems. They do best in disturbed (damaged) environments. Of course we see them expanding ranges as we continue to develop the land. This acts as a habitat corridor that moves them from previously isolated disturbed areas. It is the same concept we use when we push for greenways to connect natural habitat. We can call these concrete corridors if you will. They help move nonnatives throughout the state.

Iguanas are another great example. They are all over the canals and neighborhoods around South Florida. You see them munching on grass lawns and hibiscus plants. Neither of these are natural habitats. When you travel to the everglades the iguanas seem to disappear. Even with fish the greatest concentration of nonnatives is in disturbed canals. While you do find nonnative fish in natural areas they don't seem to do nearly as well or have the diversity as they do in the canals.

When swamp eels popped up fish farmers were worried they would invade the ponds and clear out their fish. Eels seemed to jump up in abundance then storks seemed to clean them out. Now you pull the occasional swamp eel out of a pond. When the guts are analyzed very few fish turn up in them.

There is a fallacy that nature is in perfect balance and one new introduction will throw it off kilter. This is environmentalist propaganda. The science doesn't bear it out. When peacock bass were introduced in Florida everyone said largemouth bass would disappear. Three studies in 1999, 2000, and 2003 showed there was no decrease in largemouth bass post introduction. Each nonnative that establishes finds a place in the ecosystem.

Don't fall for the constant drumbeat of noise on this. Those who are pushing the emergency narrative are those that don't believe we should have the right to own these animals or even any animals. We should encourage responsible animal keeping, but we should not buy the panic. As for the comment about not seeing green anoles, I see plenty. Yes I do see brown anoles too, but I see more greens at my house. This project ( Rapid-fire evolution – Harvard Gazette ) showed that as brown anoles moved in green anoles moved up higher in the trees. (Where they are harder to observe.) I would love to see less nonnatives, but I would also love to see less development and neither one is likely to happen. Don't let this hobby get taken away by environmentalist who are paving over the environment to build a second houses they abandon in the summer in HOA communities that require irrigated and fertilized lawns, while complaining iguanas are eating the hibiscus bush their outside cat likes to sleep under and defecating on their manicured St Augustine lawn.
 

Deadeye

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
4,635
5,484
154
Okay, I'll be clear: I completely agree that this is a problem, caused by people, and has potential for becoming more and more of an issue as time passes. The genie is out of the bottle, and there is no putting him back in.

But, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here for a second. I have spent my entire life listening to every new-and-improved "ecological disaster" that is supposedly looming on the horizon, each one more capable than the last of destroying life as we know it. Each of these introduced species is the next eco-killer, which will decimate native populations and upset the balance of nature. Each one is poised to spell doom. You know what? It never seems to happen that way.

When Zebra Mussels arrived, they were going to outcompete native fish fry for micro-food in the water column. They were going to filter out all the planktonic organisms, starving out the hatchling fish and clarifying the water which would lead to choking algae problems. Well...the water is much clearer in many areas than it was before they arrived...but fish populations seem healthier than ever. Fishing is better. Aquatic plants grow more luxuriously and in deeper water than they used to grow...or maybe it would be more accurate to say that they grow like they used to before we clouded and polluted the water in the first place. Yep, the mussels cause some problems for industry, by clogging pipes and such...and of course some egghead statistician comes up with a figure of $650,000,000,000,000.00 that they are supposedly costing us, so I guess they are destroying the economy as well as the ecology...but the horror stories never seemed to come to fruition.

Purple Loosestrife was an escapee from people's gardens a few decades back. It was destined to wipe out native wetland vegetation. Vast tracts of swampland would be overrun with a mono-specific culture of loosestrife, which would support no native insects, birds and other animals. The wetlands would be silent wastelands...lots of pretty purple flowers but nothing else. When loosestrife first arrived on my rural acreage, I slaved for several summers pulling it out by the handful, burning it with an agricultural flamethrower, cutting with a bushhog and generally waging war on the stuff to no avail. Three summers after it arrived, I had acres of the stuff and I was worried. Would I lose the wonderful wetland ecologies that I so enjoyed watching and admiring? Nope! Two summers further down the road, and the loosestrife was reduced to almost nothing. It wasn't anything I did... I had already given up the fight...but it just died back to a small, steady population and stayed that way for the remainder of the decade, until I moved away. It was just like so many other introduced species; it rapidly spread, reached a peak, and then died back to a much lower, more stable level.

Invasives must be discouraged, no doubt about it. There need to be controls in place to prevent unwanted introductions, because...you never know...the next one might be the planet-killer! I continue to eradicate House Sparrows and Starlings when they appear in my birdhouses, I am ruthless when it comes to killing non-natives when I can do so. But...sorry, I just can't panic about them anymore. I've been sold a bill of goods too many times by hand-wringing, doom-and-gloom environmentalist talking heads; I just don't believe them any more.

Anybody on MFK has to be very careful about getting too shrill regarding the horrors of introduced species. We pay big money to have species collected around the globe, or bred in captivity, and then we gleefully bring them home to keep them as pets. Accidents happen; worse yet, the pandemic...not the Covid-19 one, I am referring to the Stupidity Plague that never slows down and has no vaccine...results in critters constantly being intentionally released, or just casually thrown out, and then establishing themselves. We are probably the biggest contributors to the problem. We can't sit on the porches of our glass houses and expect to throw stones at other people.

Dang...nothing like a hot summer day, a cold beer and a good rant to get the juices flowing...:)
jjohnwm jjohnwm has it right. We always hear a horror story from someone like Dr. Falk who's budget is based on how much the public is willing to spend in tax money. Those contributions are dependent on how scared the public is of any potential catastrophe. We have heard this a hundred times in Florida. From walking cats to swamp eels, the damage is never as bad as everyone wants it to be.

What we see most often is these "invasive" species do best in disturbed habitats like parking lots or neighborhoods that give them refuge from predation and the occasional cold snap that knocks them out otherwise. Cuban tree frogs are common on houses I don't see them when I am wandering in the swamps. Occasionally I see one in a bathroom at a park, but not in the natural areas. I also see studies that claim range expansions when people who live in the area saw the animals for years. Researchers just didn't have time to check.

These agamas have been here since the 70's and have not caused any serious problems. They do best in disturbed (damaged) environments. Of course we see them expanding ranges as we continue to develop the land. This acts as a habitat corridor that moves them from previously isolated disturbed areas. It is the same concept we use when we push for greenways to connect natural habitat. We can call these concrete corridors if you will. They help move nonnatives throughout the state.

Iguanas are another great example. They are all over the canals and neighborhoods around South Florida. You see them munching on grass lawns and hibiscus plants. Neither of these are natural habitats. When you travel to the everglades the iguanas seem to disappear. Even with fish the greatest concentration of nonnatives is in disturbed canals. While you do find nonnative fish in natural areas they don't seem to do nearly as well or have the diversity as they do in the canals.

When swamp eels popped up fish farmers were worried they would invade the ponds and clear out their fish. Eels seemed to jump up in abundance then storks seemed to clean them out. Now you pull the occasional swamp eel out of a pond. When the guts are analyzed very few fish turn up in them.

There is a fallacy that nature is in perfect balance and one new introduction will throw it off kilter. This is environmentalist propaganda. The science doesn't bear it out. When peacock bass were introduced in Florida everyone said largemouth bass would disappear. Three studies in 1999, 2000, and 2003 showed there was no decrease in largemouth bass post introduction. Each nonnative that establishes finds a place in the ecosystem.

Don't fall for the constant drumbeat of noise on this. Those who are pushing the emergency narrative are those that don't believe we should have the right to own these animals or even any animals. We should encourage responsible animal keeping, but we should not buy the panic. As for the comment about not seeing green anoles, I see plenty. Yes I do see brown anoles too, but I see more greens at my house. This project ( Rapid-fire evolution – Harvard Gazette ) showed that as brown anoles moved in green anoles moved up higher in the trees. (Where they are harder to observe.) I would love to see less nonnatives, but I would also love to see less development and neither one is likely to happen. Don't let this hobby get taken away by environmentalist who are paving over the environment to build a second houses they abandon in the summer in HOA communities that require irrigated and fertilized lawns, while complaining iguanas are eating the hibiscus bush their outside cat likes to sleep under and defecating on their manicured St Augustine lawn.
Very well said both of you! It definitely feels right that most invasiveness is blown out of proportion.
On the anoles, what part of Florida are you in? When I visit I am in Orlando area, which I assume to be brown anole hotspot. I remember reading the greens are more popular up north?
 
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