I Spy and Identify Invasives / Je vois, J’identifie les espèces envahissantes's Journal

September 18, 2023

July Wrap-Up

This past July, 42,979 observations were added to the I Spy and Identify Project – a big jump from the 36,005 observations last month! There were 5,977 species captured in those 42,979 observations by 554 observers.

One particularly interesting species observed three times in July was Conopholis americana (American Cancer-Root), a non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant that attaches to the roots of oak trees. Although C. americana depends on its host for nutrients and energy, it has not been shown to seriously harm their oak hosts. C. americana is native to North America but considered an uncommon species and is threatened in parts of the US. However, there is a very real threat to our native oaks emerging– and it was just detected in Canada (in Niagara Falls, Ontario) for the first time in June 2023. Oak wilt is an invasive fungus (Bretziella fagacearum) that infests the sapwood of trees, restricting water and nutrient flow throughout the tree. Oak wilt can kill a tree in as little as 2-6 weeks.

Symptoms include leaf browning from the edges inwards, beginning at the top of the canopy and moving down throughout the tree over time. The disease is spread by beetles who feed on the fungus and spread the spores from tree to tree and by root-root contact underground from diseased to healthy trees. All oak trees (Quercus spp.) are susceptible to oak wilt but red oaks (Quercus rubra) are most vulnerable to the fungus.

How can you help? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends the following:
• Don't prune oak trees between April and November
• Don't move firewood
Report suspected signs to the CFIA
• Check oak trees for signs of oak wilt

Check out our Buy Local, Burn Local webpage for more information. Along with reporting suspected signs of oak wilt to the CFIA, you can upload right here to our I Spy and Identify iNaturalist project to contribute to valuable biodiversity tracking data in Canada.

As usual – great observing and reporting, and we’ll see you next month!

Posted on September 18, 2023 09:48 PM by abeemcc abeemcc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 24, 2023

June Wrap-Up

We hope you are all enjoying the summer!

Good work I-spying and Identifying last month – the totals for June were 31,657 observations of 4,882 unique species submitted by 490 project members. That’s 629 more observations and 863 more species than in May. Amazing! Keep on observing and reporting so we can get even more observations by the end of July – and maybe even hit 5,000 species for this month?!

For June's update, we’d like to highlight a remarkable observation of the endangered Sand-verbena Moth (Copablepharon fuscum) in the Victoria area of British Columbia in June. This discovery by @growingtogether marks just the fifth iNaturalist observation of this species in Canada, and the first observation since 2021, making this a very special find!

Designated as an endangered species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the Sand-verbena Moth has a tiny global population and is limited to a very small and specific range. In Canada, it is found in just three small locations, making it even more vulnerable here. These moths depend on the presence of yellow sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia), the host plant which feeds the larvae. Both the moth and its host plant are habitat specialists only found in coastal sand dunes which by nature are dynamic and shifting ecosystems. However, there are several invasive plant species that have established in these dune ecosystems, stabilizing these previously dynamic systems, and impacting the plants and animals who live there. In particular, the invasive Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) of which there were 25 observations of in the Project in June, and various exotic grasses such as Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) have contributed to the rapid stabilization and subsequent degradation of dune ecosystems in BC.

The recent sighting of the Sand-verbena Moth in British Columbia highlights the importance of preserving our unique ecosystems and protecting them from invasive species. You can help protect natural spaces and play a crucial role in ensuring the survival of this endangered species by remembering to Play Clean Go and Clean Drain Dry when you’re out in nature, on the land and in the water. By checking and cleaning your gear for hitchhiking seeds and plant parts you can directly prevent the introduction of harmful invasive species to native ecosystems. You’ll also prevent the domino effect of impacts the introduction of these harmful species cause. By raising awareness and adopting simple but responsible practices when we’re out in nature, we can ensure endangered creatures like this moth and its fragile coastal dune ecosystem environment, have a chance. For more information on the impacts of invasive species on species at risk in BC, check out this 2021 report A Systematic Assessment of Invasive Species Impacts to Species at Risk in BC. Stay tuned for future monthly updates of the I Spy and Identify project where we will profile species at risk in other provinces and territories as well as the invasive species that impact them. Thanks again for all your hard work in June and happy iNatting the rest of July!

Posted on July 24, 2023 04:28 PM by abeemcc abeemcc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 13, 2023

May Wrap-Up

After a brief hiatus from our Monthly Wrap-Ups, we are back at it! May was a busy month for the I Spy and Identify Invasives/Je vois, J’identifie les espèces envahissantes project, with a total of 480 project members identifying a whopping 27,940 observations of 3,741 unique native and invasive species across Canada. Of those, 3156 observations of 560 species were of introduced species, including the following invasive species:
Banded mystery snail (Callinina georgiana) observed by project member @heatherpickard in White Lake, Ontario.This is the second observation of this species in the lake and the first since 2018. The Banded Mystery Snail is an invasive species that has spread to several provinces in Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. This snail species is a popular aquarium pet that was likely introduced to the wild through an accidental release. These snails pose a threat to native freshwater ecosystems as they outcompete native snail species for resources and can disrupt the balance of aquatic habitats.
Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) observed by project member @aimeepelletier in Cusheon Lake, Salt Spring Island - the first sighting of smallmouth bass in this water body. The Smallmouth Bass is an invasive species that has become a concern in several provinces and territories in Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The spread of this species is a result of accidental introductions when used as live bait and the illegal stocking of waterbodies for recreational fishing. Despite their popularity as a game fish, Smallmouth Bass negatively impact native fish populations by competing for resources and preying on their eggs and young. Their introduction disrupts spawning habitats and reduces biodiversity. Take the ISCBC’S Invasive-Wise Angler eLearning course for more information on responsible angling practices. And remember: Don’t Let It Loose! Never release pets or non-native aquatic species into the wild as they often can spread and harm ecosystems. To avoid spreading invasive species from one water body to another, always Clean Drain Dry your boat and gear after returning to land.
Five observations of Spongy Moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) were observed in Ontario. This invasive moth poses a significant threat to Ontario's forests due to its detrimental effects on tree health. The larvae defoliate trees, weakening them and increasing their vulnerability to stressors like drought and disease. This disrupts tree reproduction and can lead to mortality in severe infestations, affecting the entire forest ecosystem. This moth has also spread to other provinces, including British Columbia, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Efforts across these regions focus on surveillance, early detection, and rapid response measures to contain its spread. Aerial application of biological insecticides helps manage localized outbreaks and prevent establishment in new areas. These collective efforts aim to protect the forests and ecosystems from the damaging impacts of the Spongy Moth.

Some notable species-at-risk spotted this month included:
Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) observed sunning itself in Ontario by iNat user @msouthee.
The Massasauga snake, a venomous pit viper found in North America (and the only venomous snake found in Ontario), is considered a threatened species under the Species at Risk Act. This small to medium-sized rattlesnake lives in a range of different habitats including marshes, bogs, prairie, and forest. It faces significant conservation challenges, including habitat loss and degradation due to development, encroachment of invasive herbaceous vegetation such as reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and giant reed grass (Phragmites sp.) which reduce wetland habitat suitability, road mortality (being hit by vehicles), and human persecution due to their perceived threat. However, they are very shy creatures and bites are exceedingly rare.
Sticky locoweed (Oxytropis borealis var. viscida) in Bighorn No. 8, Alberta was observed by iNat user @blakeweis . A member of the pea family, this species is found growing in clusters in alpine or sub-alpine habitats throughout western North America. Its leaves are covered in glandular hairs that secrete a sticky substance, which helps protect the plant from desiccation, reduce herbivory, and aid in nutrient absorption from the soil. Its tendency to grow in discrete “islands” and its vulnerability to erosion and trampling has earned its “vulnerable” status in Alberta. There are only 77 observations of this taxon in all of Canada. To protect the remaining sticky locoweed populations, be sure to Play Clean Go - thoroughly clean your clothing, footwear, and equipment before and after hiking to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Well, those are the highlights for May – as summer draws nearer, we look forward to seeing even more observations of flora and fauna across Canada (whether invasive, exotic, or native) – Keep on spying and identifying, and see you next month with the June Wrap-Up!

Posted on June 13, 2023 05:26 PM by abeemcc abeemcc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 27, 2023

February Wrap-Up

In February, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 4,917 observations of 942 species. 193 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 14 new individuals (and counting) – welcome to our new members!

February’s reports included 450 observations of 132 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these sightings:

• 2 observations of Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) in Hamilton, Ontario. Originating from Asia, this species feeds on ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) and has spread rapidly throughout Ontario. Emerald ash borers lay their eggs on ash trees, and hatched larvae tunnel under the tree’s bark, cutting off the flow of food and water and resulting in tree death. This invasive insect is easily spread over long distances by people moving infested firewood, lumber, and woodchips. Remember: buy and burn local firewood. Moving firewood, to or from a campground or cabin, can spread invasive species and diseases that destroy our forests and affect air and water. Protect our forests by keeping firewood local!
• 1 observation of Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) in Hamilton, Ontario. Spongy moth is native to Europe, Eurasia, and North Africa and is now widespread in the Eastern United States and Canada. Spongy moth caterpillars feed on over 300 species of deciduous and coniferous trees and are capable of defoliating entire trees. These moths lay their eggs on flat surfaces, like tree trunks, shipping containers, and even vehicles, allowing them to spread to new areas. Remember to check your vehicles, trailers, and gear, and keep them clean to prevent Spongy moth and other invasive species from spreading to new areas.
• 1 observation of Hounds tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) in Calgary, Alberta. The leaves of Hound’s tongue resemble the shape of a dog’s tongue, hence the name. This invasive biennial can produce 2,000 – 4,000 barbed seeds per year that spread by clinging to clothing, livestock, and wildlife. Hand pulling these plants and removing flowering stems before seeds appear are the best ways to prevent this plant’s spread. Stop the spread of Hound’s tongue and other invasive species by practicing Play, Clean, Go.

The following species at risk were also reported throughout February:

• 1 observation of a Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) in Vancouver, British Columbia. Little brown bats are endangered in Canada, largely due to the invasive fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans that causes White-nose syndrome (WNS). This fungus thrives in cool, moist environments and infects hibernating bats by attacking their skin and damaging their wings. WNS can cause infected bats to wake up during hibernation and attempt to groom the fungus from their bodies, resulting in energy loss and eventual death by dehydration and starvation. This syndrome has not yet been observed in BC, but its risk of arrival is high. Humans can unintentionally spread the fungus that causes WNS, so it is critical to decontaminate clothing and equipment that have been in bat habitats (such as caves and mines).
• 1 observation of Dolly varden char (Salvelinus malma) near Telkwa, British Columbia. Dolly varden belong to the salmon and trout family, with members that are anadromous (living in both fresh and saltwater) or non-anadromous (freshwater only). Dolly varden populations are sensitive to habitat changes, including disruption of migration routes and sedimentation. Their populations have declined due to urbanization, dam construction, industrial activity, and overfishing. Are you an angler looking to learn more about protecting Dolly varden and other native fish habitats? Take our free Invasive-Wise Anglers course through our eLearning Centre today!

Thank you for your iNaturalist observations and reports. As we approach Invasive Species Action Month, we encourage you to brush up on your invasive species identification skills by taking our free online courses, such as Priority Marine Invasive Species and Priority Freshwater Invasive Species. Stay safe out there, and happy iNatting!

Posted on March 27, 2023 03:35 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 02, 2023

Welcome to 2023: January Wrap-Up!

In January, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 6,969 observations of 1,142 species! 193 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 20 new individuals (and counting) – a huge welcome to our new members! 

January’s reports included 618 observations of 160 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these concerning sightings: 

  • 6 observations of Chain tunicates (Botrylloides violaceus) on Vancouver Island. These tunicates grow rapidly in densely packed colonies and suffocate surrounding marine plants and animals. Chain tunicates originate from Asia, and likely arrived on the west coast of British Columbia through the movement of fishing gear, shellfish, and ships.
  • 1 observation of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in Okanagan Lake near Vernon, British Columbia. Eurasian watermilfoil was first observed in Okanagan Lake in the 1970’s, when it was likely introduced through the dumping of aquarium contents. 50 years later, this invasive plant is still found in the lake and surrounding waterbodies where it outcompetes native plant communities and reduces water quality.
  • 1 observation of a European green crab (Carcinus maenas) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve heard us talk about these invasive crabs before. European green crabs cause widespread destruction to eelgrass beds, a critical nursery habitat for juvenile salmon and herring. These invasive crabs were first found in Atlantic Canada in the 1950s and have more recently spread up and down British Columbia’s coastline from Haida Gwaii to Southern Vancouver Island. European green crab larvae spread through ballast water in ships, hitchhiking on boats and gear, and by drifting on ocean currents.

Numerous species at risk were also reported throughout January:

  • 1 observation of a Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) off the coast of Vancouver Island, BC. Grey whales were commercially hunted to near extinction in the North Pacific in the 19th and 20th centuries, though populations have increased since being granted legal protection in 1937. Today, the main threats to Grey whales are entanglement in fishing gear, ship strikes, and destruction of feeding habitat. During the summer months, Grey whales in BC are frequent visitors to eelgrass beds, where they feed on the eggs and larvae of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii). As invasive species like European green crabs spread along BC’s coasts, this critical habitat is threatened, creating a grim situation for whales and the broader ecosystem.
  • 2 observations of Yellow lampmussel (Lampsilis cariosa) in Pottle Lake on Cape Breton Island. These freshwater mussels play a critical role in aquatic food webs, and are preyed upon by birds, fish, and other invertebrates. Yellow lampmussels are filter feeders, and improve water quality by filtering phytoplankton, micro-organisms, and bacteria from the water column. Threats to the Yellow lampmussel include destruction of habitat, declining water quality and the introduction and establishment of invasive Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha).

Thank you for your contributions to the I Spy and Identify Invasives Project! As the ice begins to melt, and we begin to spend more time on the water, remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry your boats and equipment to prevent the spread of invasive species. We can’t wait to see what you report in February. Stay warm out there, and happy iNatting!

Posted on March 02, 2023 06:15 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 18, 2023

December Wrap-Up

In December, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 5,219 observations of 966 species. 157 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 11 new individuals (and counting) – welcome to our new members!   

December’s reports included 548 observations of 142 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these sightings:  

  • 35 observations of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. European starlings were introduced to North America in the late 1800s and are now established from Alaska to Mexico. They nest in trees and human-built structures. Starlings are aggressive, easily out-competing native birds, and will kill larger birds when competing for nesting sites.
  • 19 observations of House sparrows (Passer domesticus) in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. These adaptable and invasive sparrows were introduced to North America via New York in 1852 and are now established throughout Canada. They are aggressive nest competitors and often outcompete other cavity nesting birds, leading to population declines of native bird species.
  • 2 observations of Ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Ring-necked pheasants were introduced to British Columbia in the 1880s as a game bird, making homes in grasslands and farmlands in the south of the province. Studies have found that Ring-necked pheasants can engage in nest parasitism, where they lay eggs in nests of native gamebirds. This can lead to abandonment of nests, lower hatching rates, and lower numbers of eggs laid by the native host species (including ducks and grouse).

The following species at risk were also reported throughout December:

  • 2 observations of Marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) on Vancouver Island by @stevenhayward and @enspring. Marbled murrelets are small seabirds found in coastal areas of British Columbia. These murrelets rely on old growth forests for nesting sites, where they lay a single egg high up on mossy tree limbs. The greatest threat to Marbled murrelets is the loss of nesting habitat through commercial logging of old growth forests, as well as oil contamination and entanglement in gillnets while foraging at sea.
  • 2 observations of Short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) in British Columbia by @ellyne and @erichabisch. This nomadic owl breeds in all of Canada's provinces and territories and prefers open grassland and marsh habitats where it hunts for rodents. Alterations of wetlands, urban development, and farming have all been attributed to critical habitat loss for the Short-eared owl, resulting in population declines.

Thank you for your iNaturalist observations and reports. We want to acknowledge all of your contributions to the project in 2022. 706 of you made 250,666 observations of 10,500 species! Here’s to another successful year of community science!

Posted on January 18, 2023 04:34 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 12, 2022

November Wrap-Up

In November, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 5,755 observations of 1,329 species! 215 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 24 new individuals (and counting) – thank you for joining everyone!

November’s reports included 799 observations of 224 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these concerning sightings: 

• 3 observations of Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) in Vernon, British Columbia by @darylnolan. This invasive tree is native to China and spreads rapidly, releasing toxic chemicals into the soil to deter other plant species. Tree of heaven is often used by gardeners because of its rapid growth and interesting foliage, unaware of the tree’s invasive qualities. If you are a gardener looking for native and non-invasive planting alternatives, check out ISCBC’s “Grow Me Instead” guide.
• 5 observations of Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) in British Columbia and Ontario. The Brown marmorated stink bug is considered extremely destructive and a threat to the agriculture industry. It feeds on fruits and vegetables and damages crops, causing produce to rot. During the fall and winter, stinkbugs like to hibernate in large numbers in wooden structures. Your home could become a host to hundreds - or thousands - of bugs, so make sure to seal off entry points to prevent these unwanted guests and continue to report any sightings!

The following species at risk were also reported throughout November:

• 5 observations of Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in Nova Scotia by @dbmcc09, @jollygoodyellow, and @julescameron. These endangered turtles travel up to 18,000 km each year between their tropical nesting sites and temperate feeding areas. In the summer months, Atlantic Canada hosts one of the highest densities of foraging Leatherback sea turtles in the North Atlantic because of the abundance of jellyfish prey.
• 1 observation of Pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) on Vancouver Island, British Columbia by @stevenhayward. Pinto abalone is a culturally significant species and traditional food for many First Nations communities on the Pacific coast. Between 1978 and 1984, the abundance of Pinto abalone along Canada’s west coast declined by more than 75% as a result of commercial harvesting. Abalone populations have not fully recovered, and this loss continues to strongly impact First Nations communities. Multiple abalone recovery initiatives have been launched along BC’s coasts, including site rebuilding by the Haida and Kitasoo Fisheries Programs and the Heiltsuk Abalone and Sea Otter Stewardship Project. All harvesting of Pinto abalone is prohibited in BC. You can report any suspicious or illegal harvesting activity to Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 1-800-465-4336.

As always, thank you for your iNaturalist observations and reports. Moving into December, we encourage you to observe and report European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), House sparrows (Passer domesticus), and Ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). If you are taking part in your local Christmas bird count, remember to report these species to help conservation biologists assess the population trends and distribution of birds.

That’s all for now, happy holidays from CCIS and ISCBC!

Posted on December 12, 2022 10:17 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 14, 2022

October Wrap-Up

In October, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 12,140 observations of 2,511 species! 332 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 42 new individuals (and counting) – thank you for joining everyone!

October’s reports included 1,713 observations of 410 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these concerning sightings:

• 3 observations of Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in British Columbia and Ontario by @juliereid, @nkry, and @gary-james. These adaptable fish thrive in warm, shallow lakes and rivers where they outcompete native fish species. Because of its widespread distribution and disruptive impacts to native fish and plants, it is considered one of the world’s worst invasive alien species.
• 7 observations of Goldfish (Carassius auratus) in British Columbia by @justin_demerchant, @laraphilli and @aprilblumberg. Goldfish are one of the most widespread invasive fish in North America. They can reduce the clarity of the waters they inhabit, which reduces the amount of sunlight reaching underwater plants, causing habitat loss for native aquatic species.

The following species at risk were also reported throughout October:

• 1 observation of a Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in Quebec by @jdmd264. Lake sturgeon are threatened by overexploitation, dams, and habitat destruction. Invasive species such as Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) also pose a threat to Lake sturgeon, as they compete for food and habitat, prey on eggs and fish, and cause habitat disturbances.
• 1 observation of an Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Newfoundland by @tclenche. Bluefin tuna populations have dropped drastically as a result of over-exploitation by the fishing industry. Bluefin Tuna is a prized fish for sushi and sashimi – the most expensive tuna ever sold at auction went for $3.08 million at a Tokyo market.

As always, thank you for your iNaturalist observations and reports. Moving into November, we encourage you to observe and report Feral pig (Sus scrofa) and Nutria (Myocastor coypus). These invasive species damage native wetlands by creating wallows and burrows, leading to bank erosion and sedimentation of waterways.

Posted on November 14, 2022 04:39 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 12, 2022

September Wrap-Up

In September, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 20,404 observations of 3,507 species! 388 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 38 new individuals (and counting) – thank you for joining everyone! 

September’s reports included 2,633 observations of 499 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these concerning sightings: 

30 observations of Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) in British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec. This noxious weed thrives in sunny, disturbed sites and spreads by roots and seed which can remain viable for up to 25 years. Common tansy is toxic to humans and livestock, as its leaves contain neurotoxins, toxic oils, and the pesticide pyrethrin.

18 observations of Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Oxeye daisy was introduced to North America in the late 1700s through seed mixes and is now widely established along roadsides, pastures, and rangelands. Infestations of Oxeye daisy can decrease forage for wildlife and supress local plant biodiversity.

8 observations of Lesser burdock (Arctium minus) in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. The sticky burrs of this invasive plant inspired the creation of Velcro. These burrs cling to animals that touch the plant – this is especially dangerous for birds and bats as they can become trapped in burdock’s burrs and die.

The following species at risk were also reported throughout September:  

2 observations of Coastal Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus truei) by @abeemcc. These distinctive frogs are endemic to western North America and can be found in cool, fast flowing streams. Tadpoles of this species have large oral suckers which they use to attach to substrates in turbulent waters. The critical stream habitat of the Coastal Tailed Frog continues to be degraded as a result of forestry and other human activities.

1 observation of an Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus) by @jason_miller. These nocturnal birds are easier heard than seen – their haunting calls have inspired numerous legends. Eastern Whip-poor-wills prefer open forest habitats and nest on the ground. This makes them vulnerable to disturbance by predators and people, so watch your step when walking off trail in their range!

Moving into October, we encourage you to watch out for Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Goldfish (Carassius auratus), and Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). These invasive fish are often released into waterbodies from the intentional, improper disposal of aquariums. Releasing pets into the wild is cruel, dangerous, and illegal. Remember: Don’t Let It Loose. Thank you to everyone who participated in the I Spy and Identify Project in September, we look forward to seeing what you report in October!

Posted on October 12, 2022 04:04 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 21, 2022

August Wrap-Up

In August, the I Spy and Identify Invasives project made 30,699 observations of 4,575 species! 429 people observed and reported native and invasive species across Canada and our network grew by 70 new individuals (and counting) – thank you for joining everyone!

August’s reports included 4,456 observations of 655 different introduced and invasive species. The month’s totals included these concerning sightings:

• 71 observations of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Despite its name, this thistle is native to Europe and Northern Asia. This noxious weed is widespread across Canada and crowds out forage grasses and native plant communities.
• 18 observations of Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. This aggressive weed quickly displaces native vegetation where it is introduced and decreases the value of rangeland. Be careful of pulling Leafy spurge: its leaves and stems produce a milky sap that can burn the skin of people and animals.
• 14 observations of Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. This invasive plant was introduced to North America during the 17th and 18th centuries as a root vegetable but has since escaped cultivation and can be found in all provinces and territories except for Nunavut.

The following species at risk were also reported throughout August:

• 1 observation of a Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) in Saskatchewan by @mothmaniac. Burrowing owls prefer open grasslands where they inhabit burrows excavated by prairie dwelling mammals. Owls will reuse these burrows year after year, so burrows should be protected to preserve Burrowing owl populations in Canada.
• 7 observations of Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Northwest Territories by @mhairimcf. Caribou are threatened by habitat loss from resource exploration, climate change impacts on habitat, and increased intensity of forest fires that impact their winter range. In the winter, caribou use their hooves like a shovel to forage in the snow – the word “caribou” is likely adapted from a Micmac word that means “the one who paws.”
• 1 observation of a Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) in British Columbia by @jacquierasmussen. Gopher snakes are BC’s largest native snake measuring up to 2.4 meters in length. The greatest threat to Gopher snake populations is mortality from roadkill, construction, mining, agricultural machinery, and the loss of key grassland habitats. These snakes may produce a rattlesnake-like tail vibration when threatened, but unlike rattlesnakes, are non-venomous. Make sure to give them plenty of room if you encounter them!

Thank you for your iNaturalist observations and reports. Moving into September, we encourage you to observe and report invasive plant species such as Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Wild chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris), Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), and Burdock (Arctium minus). These invasive species spread aggressively and outcompete native plants. All four of these invasive plants are considered noxious weeds and will spread rapidly once established. They can quickly take over pastures and grasslands, so remember to Play Clean Go to avoid spreading these invaders!

Posted on September 21, 2022 03:10 PM by invasive_species_council_of_bc invasive_species_council_of_bc | 0 comments | Leave a comment