The history of native and invasive iguanas in south Florida
Iguanas have been a part of the south Florida ecosystem for thousands of years. The native species, the American green iguana, has been present in the region for thousands of years. However, in recent decades, the region has seen an influx of another species of iguana: the non-native, or invasive, green iguana.
The physical differences between native and invasive iguanas
There are several physical differences between native and invasive iguanas. Native American green iguanas are typically smaller, with adults reaching lengths of up to 5 feet. In contrast, invasive green iguanas can grow to be much larger, with some individuals reaching lengths of up to 8 feet. Native iguanas also tend to be a lighter green color, while invasive iguanas are often a darker, duller green. Additionally, native iguanas have a more pronounced dewlap (a flap of skin under the chin), while invasive iguanas have a smaller dewlap. These physical differences can make it easier to distinguish between the two species.
The ecological impacts of invasive iguanas in south Florida
The presence of invasive iguanas in south Florida has had significant ecological impacts on the region. These non-native iguanas compete with native species for food and habitat, which can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem. Invasive iguanas can also spread diseases to native animals and plants, further damaging the environment.
Efforts to control and manage the invasive iguana population in south Florida
In response to the negative impacts of invasive iguanas, various organizations and government agencies in south Florida have launched efforts to control and manage the population. These efforts often involve capturing and removing invasive iguanas from their habitat, as well as implementing education and outreach programs to raise awareness about the issue.
It is important to get rid of invasive iguanas in south Florida in order to protect the native ecosystem and prevent further damage to the environment. The continued presence of these non-native animals can have negative impacts on the region’s biodiversity and overall health of the ecosystem. By implementing control and management efforts, it is possible to mitigate the impacts of invasive iguanas and preserve the natural beauty of south Florida.