Nothing but a Nuisance

Not all of the species of living things that are found in PEI are native, or were here before our early settler; instead they were introduced through various means. Glossy Buckthorn was taken here by early European settlers, striped skunks were introduced for the fur trade and the eastern coyote crossed the ice on the Northumberland Strait. There are many non-native species in PEI, some cause little harm to the ecosystem while others can completely devastate it. This module is all about invasive species, the problems they cause and how hard it is to get rid of them.

The PEI Invasive Species Council has recently launched a website full of information on the invasive species that are found in PEI. Please click here to check it out. If you find an invasive species be sure to report it.

What is an Invasive Species?

Any species not native to an area that has potential to negatively impact the environmental, economic and social health of that area. Introduced species no longer have their natural predators and pathogens to control their populations, therefore many out-compete native species.

All invasive species are non-native, but not all non-native species are invasive. Only a small percentage become invasive. Once an invasive species become established in a given area, removing them is not easy.

Invasive species take over and decrease the biodiversity of an area.

Common Invasive Plants

Glossy Buckthorn

Glossy Buckthorn Fact Sheet

Japanese Knotweed

Purple Loosestrife

Wild Cucumber

An Invasive Bird

European Starlings

Commonly seen in bunches sitting on power lines, European Starlings are everywhere in Prince Edward Island. These year-round residents were introduced to North America in 1890, when William Shakespeare enthusiasts released 60 starlings in New York's Central Park. It was part of the Shakespeare society's plan to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakepeare's work. The bird quickly invaded New York. It is believed that most or all the starlings in North America descended from the group released in New York.

Today over 200 million European starlings can be found from Alaska to Mexico. They dispace native cavity nesting birds from their homes, such as Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows and yellow-bellied sapsuckers, which may affect on population. Starlings may cause damage to agricultural crops and can carry a variety of difference diseases that impact domestic animals. Efforts to control and eliminate starling populations have gone unsuccessful. 

One fascinating thing about starling is their ability to fly in sync. Driving over the Hillsborough Bridge thay can often be seen flying together in a mass. This is referred to as murmuration. For more information on this and to view a video click here.

Invasive Insects

Beech Scale

Emerald Ash Borer

Gypsy Moth

Viburum Leaf Beetle