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2 invasive snake and frog species cost world economy $16 billion, finds study

The brown-and-green frog had the greatest impact in Europe and the brown tree snake is singlehandedly responsible for $10.3 billion worth of damage, researchers said.

July 29, 2022 / 01:52 PM IST
Invasive species: Brown-and-green frog and Brown tree snake (Image credit: @CorrieJN, @RobertIrwin/Twitter)

Invasive species: Brown-and-green frog and Brown tree snake (Image credit: @CorrieJN, @RobertIrwin/Twitter)


The American bullfrog and the brown tree snake cost the world economy an estimated $16 billion between 1986 and 2020 by causing problems such as crop failure and triggered costly power failures, a study has found. Researchers hope the findings would encourage the need for greater control and prevention policies regarding the spread of invasive species.

One of these invasive species, the brown-and-green frog known as lithobates catesbeianus which weighs less than 1 kg, had the greatest impact in Europe, according to research published in Scientific Reports.

According to the scientists, the second invasive species, the brown tree snake, is singlehandedly responsible for $10.3 billion worth of damage--partly by multiplied uncontrollably across several Pacific islands, where the species was introduced by US troops in World War II, said lead researcher Ismael Soto.

The snakes have at times been so abundant that they caused power outages by crawling on electrical equipment, the PhD student at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic added.

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"This signals the need for investment controlling global transport of invasive species to avoid paying for mitigation after the invasions occur... Nowadays, the pet trade is the main pathway for these species, especially now that everyone wants to get the most exotic snake," Soto told Reuters. "We propose continuously updating the black list of forbidden species for trade."

The study also noted that the transportation rate of alien species into new regions is unprecedented and it is only accelerating with globalising trade and transport networks.

"These often lead to invasions, with ecological impacts that include extinctions of native species and disruptions of ecosystem functioning2 through direct and indirect effects," it noted. "They also have major impacts on economic activities and human society—with high monetary costs to multiple economic sectors, disruptions of livelihoods and loss of human health, and welfare."
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first published: Jul 29, 2022 01:52 pm
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