Asian Swamp Eel - The Adaptable Invasive Species

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Asian Swamp Eel - The Adaptable Invasive Species

Lack of Solutions:

Asian Swamp Eel: The Adaptable Invasive Species

Basic Information: Appearance, Location, Etc.




By Gabrielle Ruban


-The binomial nomenclature: Monopterus albus-Also known as the "rice eel."-Native to Eastern & Southern Asia, ranging from Northern India to Japan and the Indo-Malayan Archipelago.-The swamp eel has a mucus-covered, snake-like body with no noticeable scales or fins; typically some variation of brown or green, with the underbelly being even lighter.-Avg.measurements: 3ft.; 1lbs.-Small eyes and teeth.-Is a protogynous hermaphrodite, capable of switching sexes throughout its lifetime.-Breathes air "via a vascularized breathing apparatus at the rear of their mouths", is able to live without food and water for several weeks.

-The Asian Swamp Eels first emerged in the United States in the very early 1900s, in Hawaii, however their populations in the United States weren't officially documented until the late 1990s.-Were first found in Florida in 1997, in the Northern Miami area, near Southern Tampa, and later in 2007, were found within the Nverglades National Park. Florida has the largest invasive population out of all of the locations.-This invasion was believed to be caused by Chinese Immigrants who wanted to use the organism in their dishes, considering it's a delicacy in Asia; they would illegally release the organism into open waters in places like Hawaii and Florida.-These organisms could've also escaped from one of the local numerous fish farms or been dumped into an area canal for the purpose of a home aquarium.

-Hides in burrows, rock crevices, thick aquatic vegation during the day; feeds during the night.-Physically unaffected by explosives and poisons, also doesn't get affected by ichthyocides, which are fish poisons that deny oxygen to the gills, since they are air breathers.-Eats a large variety of organisms: tadpoles, small fish, worms, frogs, crawfish, shrimp, aquatic insects, mollusks, plants, amphipods.-Very easily adaptable to new environments.-Prefers habitats like swamps, rice fields, muddy ponds, canals, and slow-moving freshwater regions, where they can burrow into soft sediments or small crevices.-Is able to survive in water or land, warmer or colder temperatures and in either salt or fresh water.

Survival, Habitat-Based Facts:

The Invasion

Both Images: Google Images

The Detrimental Effects of this Invasion

-With this organisms' flexible and adaptable characteristics & no known predators in the United States, it is very plausible that it could spread out more throughout the country since it can also live on either land or water and in hotter or cold climates. -Since it is active primarly at night, it can grow its population in stealth because it isn't out and about while the majority of organisms are.-Their wide spectrum of prey, makes them capable of exterimating large numbers of native species, whether it is by eating them directly or by eating their sources of prey. (ie. by eating small fish for instance, they create more limitations on resources for their predators, like hawks or larger fish, causing their survival to be more tedious)-These ecosystems and environments will eventually fall apart since other species within them wouldn't be able to survive eventually, since they are removing a lot of the resources by consuming or using them, themselves.

-With this species' many adaptable traits, it is hard to find a solution to reduce their population growth.-Since they breath air, conventional eradication methods like using ichthyocides wouldn't be effective.-Electrofishing has worked to some degree, but these eels are growing quickly and can easily dodge capture by going into the small crevices within the landscapes or by moving into deeper water.-High concentrations of rotenone could be used, however it requires a lot of the chemical compound in order to kill one adult, let alone a whole population.-There is no ultimate solution for this invasion.


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