Animals

Five Exotic, Invasive and Naturalised Species found in the Caribbean Sea

Marine mammals such as whales and marine reptiles such as turtles are known for traveling long distances across the world. Smaller animals, however, tend to live their entire lives in a particular region.

In certain instances, a species native to one region is introduced to another; on accident or purposefully. When a species has been introduced to a new region and begins to outcompete, harm the environment and reproduce rapidly, it is classified as an invasive species.

The most common invasive species in the Caribbean Sea is the lionfish. Lionfish are originally from the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The first lionfish was reported in 1985 off the coast of Florida. Since then, they have invaded Caribbean waters.

Here are five other marine exotic, naturalised and/or invasive species documented in the Caribbean sea during a study of invasive species in the region.

According to this study, the following animals are classified as either exotic (known to be present in the Caribbean in cultivation, captivity or in the wild), naturalised (known to be established in the wild in at least one Caribbean country) and/or Invasive (established in the wild and reported to be spreading, and / or regarded as a threat to a native species, ecosystem or causing a socio-economic impact).

  1. BRINE SHRIMP (Artemia cysts) – considered exotic, naturalised and invasive in The Bahamas.
Close up of Brine Shrimp © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA 4.0

2. SEA NETTLE (Chrysoara quinquechirra) – considered exotic, naturalised and invasive in The Bahamas.

Sea Nettles in Monterey Bay Aquarium © King of Lasers / CC-BY-SA 4.0

3. GREEN-LIPPED MUSSEL (Perna viridis) – considered exotic, naturalised and invasive in Jamaica and Trinidad.

Green-lipped mussel on sand © Richard Giddins / CC-BY- 2.0

4. GIANT GROUPER (Epinephelus lanceolatus) – considered exotic, naturalised and invasive in The Bahamas.

Giant Grouper in aquarium © Manuel Heinrich Emha / CC-BY- 2.5

5. BROWNBANDED BAMBOO SHARK (Chiloscyllium punctatum) – considered exotic, naturalised and invasive in The Bahamas.

Brownbanded Shark in aquarium © Christian Leonard Quale / CC-BY- 2.0
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