Invasive frog and snake species cost global economy $16 billion, study shows

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By Brian Ellsworth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Two invasive species, the American bullfrog and the brown tree snake, cost the world an estimated $16 billion between 1986 and 2020, causing problems ranging from crop damage to power outages, according to a study published Thursday.

The brown-and-green frog, known as lithobates catesbeianus, which can weigh more than 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms), had the greatest impact in Europe, according to research published in Scientific Reports.

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The brown tree snake, or boiga unknownis, has been multiplying unchecked on Pacific islands, including Guam and the Marianna Islands, where the species was introduced by U.S. troops in World War II, study researcher Ismael Soto said.

The snakes were sometimes so abundant that they caused power outages by crawling on electrical equipment, he said.

This indicates that investments are needed to control the global transport of invasive species to avoid paying for mitigation after the invasions happen, said Soto, a PhD student at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, the lead researcher of the study. research.

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“Today, the pet trade is the main avenue for these species, especially when everyone wants the most exotic snake,” Soto told Reuters. “We propose to continuously update the blacklist of prohibited species for trade.”

The figures were derived by aggregating costs associated with invasive species as described in peer-reviewed literature or studies considered highly reliable, and came mainly from estimates and extrapolations rather than empirical observations.

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(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Sandra Maler)

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