Invasive Species in Nova Scotia

WHAT IS AN INVASIVE SPECIES? 

Invasive species are plants, animals and micro-organisms that have been introduced into areas beyond their native range and negatively impact the environment, the economy, or society.

 

WHAT IMPACTS DO INVASIVE SPECIES HAVE? 

It is widely accepted that invasive species are an immense threat to biodiversity worldwide. In Canada alone, more than 20% of our species at risk are threatened with extinction by invasive species. Invasive species cause harm in several ways. For example, they may eat native species, take their food and space, contribute to soil degradation and erosion, introduce new diseases, and degrade water quality and habitat. The destruction caused by invasive species also has adverse effects on human life. Invasive species can damage buildings and roads. From an economic viewpoint, invasive species greatly impact productivity and profit in forestry, agricultural, and fishing industries – as well as reducing recreational opportunities. 

 

HOW DID INVASIVE SPECIES GET HERE, AND HOW DO THEY SPREAD? 

Humans are largely responsible for the movement of invasive species from one area to another. Many human-assisted pathways have permitted the introduction of invasive species in Nova Scotia. Examples of these pathways include – but are certainly not limited to – horticultural trade, aquarium trade, the movement of shipping containers, ballast water tanks in cargo ships, recreational boating, and the release of species for hunting or angling purposes. Once established, invasive species can spread naturally, or be moved further by human activities such as outdoor recreation, release of pets into the environment, or movement of firewood. 

Live more sustainably 

Everyday activities often contribute to the spread of invasive species. For example, buying products from overseas requires transportation via container ships; those ships may inadvertently transport invasive species to Nova Scotia. Buying local products and reducing your overall ecological footprint not only helps to reduce habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation of natural resources – it is also fundamental for the prevention of invasive species introductions across the globe. 

Learn more about the various invasive species in Nova Scotia

Beech Bark Disease

Fact Sheet INSECT & FUNGUS Cryptococcus fagisuga & Neonectria spp. Description Disfigured Beech trees are the result of a combination of the exotic Beech Scale

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Blue Sedge

Fact Sheet vascular plant Carex flacca Description Cool-season sedge grow to a height of 30-45 cm and a width of 30-45 cm, forming a dense

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Carolina Fanwort

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Cabomba caroliniana Description Bottom-rooted, submersed aquatic plant. Stems usually 1-2 m but up to 10 m long. Underwater leaves opposite, fan-like

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Chain Pickerel

Fact Sheet Freshwater Fish Esox niger | Other Names: Pickerel, Water Wolf, Pike Description Long, narrow, torpedo-shaped, green body with a darker back and white

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Coffin Box

Coffin Box Bryozoan

Fact Sheet MARINE ANIMAL Membranipora membranacea | Other Names: Lacy Crust Bryozoan, Kelp Lace Bryozoan Description The Coffin Box Bryozoan is a marine organism that

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Violet Tunicate

Colonial Tunicates

Fact Sheet MARINE ANIMAL Didemnum, Diplosoma, Botryllus, Botrylloides spp. | Other Name: Sea Squirt Description Colonial Tunicates are small marine filter-feeding animals, sometimes referred to

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Phragmites SeedHeads

Common Reed

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Phragmites australis ssp. australis | Elephant Grass, Giant Reedgrass Description Very tall, stout grass, often reaching heights of 3 m or

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Dog Strangling Vine

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Cynanchum rossicum & louiseae | Black Swallowwort Description Herbaceous vine growing 1-2 metres high and twining onto plants or trees. Leaves

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Dutch Elm Disease

Fact Sheet Insect & Fungus Hylurgopinus, Scotylus, & Ophiostoma spp Description Dead and dying White Elm trees. Results from several different microscopic sac fungi (all

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Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Fact Sheet INSECT Agrilus planipennis Description The Emerald Ash Borer is a narrow, elongated beetle that is 8.5–14 mm long, and 3.1 –3.5 mm wide.

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Garlic Mustard

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Alliaria petiolata Description Herbaceous biennial, with vegetative rosette in the first year. Leaves 2-12 cm wide, dark green, kidney shaped, smelling

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Giant Hogweed

Fact Sheet VASCULAR Heracleum mantegazzianum Description A perennial member of the carrot family which can grow to exceed 5m in height. Basal leaves lobed, coarsely

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Glossy Buckthorn

Fact Sheet Vacular Plant Frangula alnus | European Alder Buckthorn Description Single or many stemmed shrub or small tree, reaching heights of 6 m. Leaves

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Green Crab

Green Crab

Fact Sheet CRUSTACEAN Carcinus maenas | Other Name: European Green Crab Habitat & Impact Green Crabs are common in shallow water of salt marshes, beaches

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Fact Sheet INSECT, TREE PEST Adelges tsugae Description Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an aphid-like insect that parasitizes Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) trees. The first generation

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Himalayan blackberry

Himalayan Blackberry

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Rubus armeniacus l Armenian blackberry Description Himalayan Blackberry is a very large blackberry that produces robust arching 5-angled canes that reach

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Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Reynoutria japonica | Other Names: Mexican Bamboo, Fleeceflower Description Japanese Knotweed is a woody-stemmed herbaceous perennial 1-3 m tall, with annual

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Multiflora rose

Multiflora Rose

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Rosa multiflora | Common names: Multiflower Rose, Rambler Rose Description Multiflora Rose is a woody shrub that grows up to 3

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Norway Maples

Norway Maple

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Acer platanoides Description Norway Maple is a large deciduous tree that grows up to 18 m tall with a large crown.

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Oriental Bittersweet

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Celastrus orbiculatus | Asian Bittersweet Description Deciduous woody vine or trailing shrub. Can reach heights of over 18 m. Leaves simple,

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Learn more about the various invasive species in Nova Scotia

Fact Sheet INSECT & FUNGUS Cryptococcus fagisuga & Neonectria spp. Description Disfigured Beech trees are the result of a combination of the exotic Beech Scale insect and two fungus species, one of which (Neonectria faginata) may also be exotic. Beech Scale insect is only 1 mm long and usually covered by a whitish, cottony wax

Fact Sheet INSECT Orchestes fagi Description The Beech Leaf-Mining Weevil is an insect pest of Beech (Fagus spp.) trees. Adult weevils are 2–3 mm long, with short golden hair, and long back legs. They jump like fleas when foliage around them is disturbed. In their larval stage, they are about 5 mm long, with a

Fact Sheet vascular plant Carex flacca Description Cool-season sedge grow to a height of 30-45 cm and a width of 30-45 cm, forming a dense clump that slowly creeps and spreads. It has 3 mm wide leaves which are narrow, arching, and coarse; blue-green on top and blue-gray underneath. Inconspicuous flowers appear on terminal, cylindrical

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Cabomba caroliniana Description Bottom-rooted, submersed aquatic plant. Stems usually 1-2 m but up to 10 m long. Underwater leaves opposite, fan-like and finely divided; floating leaves small, oblong, up to 3 cm long. Blooms late spring to early fall with small flowers (0.6-1.6 cm wide) that rise above the water surface.

Fact Sheet Freshwater Fish Esox niger | Other Names: Pickerel, Water Wolf, Pike Description Long, narrow, torpedo-shaped, green body with a darker back and white belly. Adults have chain-like pattern on sides; juveniles lack pattern. Long snout, akin to a duckbill, filled with many large, sharp teeth. Caudal fin is deeply forked. Average length is

Fact Sheet MARINE ANIMAL Membranipora membranacea | Other Names: Lacy Crust Bryozoan, Kelp Lace Bryozoan Description The Coffin Box Bryozoan is a marine organism that consists of tiny (< 1 mm in length) individual filter-feeding invertebrate animals. They are ‘coffin’ shaped, and live in encrusting circular colonies of hundreds to thousands. These colonies can reach

Fact Sheet MARINE ANIMAL Didemnum, Diplosoma, Botryllus, Botrylloides spp. | Other Name: Sea Squirt Description Colonial Tunicates are small marine filter-feeding animals, sometimes referred to as sea squirts. They live attached to underwater objects. Their name is inspired by the thick, protective skin that coats their sac-like bodies, resembling a tunic. Colonies are made up

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Phragmites australis ssp. australis | Elephant Grass, Giant Reedgrass Description Very tall, stout grass, often reaching heights of 3 m or more (exceptionally to 4 m). Stem hollow, up to 1.5 cm thick. Leaves usually bluishgreen, 15-50 cm long, 2 to 4 cm wide. Flower head large and feathery, 15 to

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Cynanchum rossicum & louiseae | Black Swallowwort Description Herbaceous vine growing 1-2 metres high and twining onto plants or trees. Leaves are opposite, oval with a pointed tip and 7-12 cm long. Star-shaped flowers bloom from late May to mid-July and have five petals 5-9 mm long with a pink to