To promote awareness about invasive and non-native species, we had a friendly competition among our members with a photo contest. The results were stunning and we're pleased to announce the winners. Our entries represent a wide variety of creatures and plants from around the world. Below are the first, second and third place winners in the four categories. Follow the links to view the full-size images and the runners-up.

Non-native species often have few enemies, or climate conditions allow them to spread to the point that they crowd our the natives. In many cases, the native species are threatened or endangered. Sometimes a non-native is beautiful and un-witting people introduce it into an area, not understanding the impact that choice makes on the ecosystem. We hope this photo contest helps shread awareness that beautiful isn't always benign.

We want to thank each and every member who submitted their images and hope that everyone enjoys the show. Please click the links to each category to see the full-sized images and the runners-up!

First place in the Invasive or Non-native Plant category is the Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) image photographed by Aqua0174.

Zone: 6 Location: Juniata River, Central Pennsylvania Description: I believe this plant is a prime example of how beauty can be deceptive.This photo shows how loosestrife's dense and impenetrable stands are destructive and difficult to control."

Introduced to North America in the 1800's by settlers and as ship ballast, this aggressive plant chokes waterways and disrupts fragile wetlands ecosystems.

purple loosestrife

Second place in the Plants category goes to sallyg, with her image of Honeysuckle (Lonicera caprifolium) and Asiatic Tear Thumb (Polygonum perfoliatum). "Invasive species- the path is set but where will it lead? Local flora being overrun with last year's growth of honeysuckle and tearthumb"


Bob_71 has the third place image with the Buddleja davidii: "Buddleia, our familiar "Butterfly Bush" is considered an invasive, non-native species. Originally from China, Korea and Japan, it has become highly popular here. It produces mountains of seeds and sets seeds readily! This one is Buddleia davidii "Miss Ruby" and is furnishing nectar to the Monarch"

Popular with gardeners and in the nursery trade, this species is becoming problematic in many areas. Many gardeners clip the spent blossoms before the seeds mature to prevent unwanted seedlings.


First place in the Invasive or Non-Native Birds is the Starling (Sternus vulgaris) by linthicum:

"European Starlings are among the worst nuisance species in North America. The birds travel in enormous flocks; pose danger to air travel; disrupt farms; displace native birds; and roost on city blocks. Corrosive droppings on structures cause hundreds of millions of dollars of yearly damage."

This highly successful European transplant was introduced to the Americas by Shakespere enthusiasts. 100 individuals were released in Ney York's Central Park in 1890-91 and there are now well over 200 million of them all across the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

european starling

Second place is the Mandarin Duck by DonnaB:

"The Mandarin duck, (Aix galericulata) a Native of China is found in private collections & Zoo's. They are the only related bird to the U.S. native Wood Duck. Escapees compete with our native cavity nesters such as Wood Ducks & Hooded Mergansers. There is a feral population of several 100 Mandarins in Sonoma County, Ca."

mandarin duck

Ginger749 is from Australia where the Crested Pigeon is a non-native competing with the unique birds and animals found there: "This Picture was taken in Queensland, Australia. Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes "

Many non-native species of plants and animals compete with the unique flora and wildlife native to Australia. The government has strict regulations on imports to prevent the introduction of these species, to protect their unique natives. From rabbits to blackberry bushes, many things have escaped captivity and are threatning, or have become a nuisance to the nativs.

crested pigeon

Plantladylin's Cuban Tree Frog wins first place for the Invasive and Non-native Wildlife:

"A Cuban Tree Frog that took up residence in an old Birdhouse on our deck. Native to the Caribbean region, there are now established colonies in Florida. They grow to 3"- 5 1/2 " in size and will eat native frogs, lizards, spiders and even hatching baby birds!

This is the largest North American tree frog and is sometimes sold in pet stores. The Cuban Tree Frog secrets a substance that irritates skin and eyes, which is probably why many are released into the wild. They compete with anything they can eat and are even known to eat each other.

cuban tree frog

The Gray Squirrel wins second place in the Wildlife Category and the image is by eirlys1:

"We had high hopes of attracting one of several species of woodpeckers with our newly installed first class bird house. . . Imagine our surprise when a new boarder showed up. . . covered in fur! What are landlords to do? Name the Intruder, of course.!"

gray squirrel

Third place is woodspirit1's white squirrel:

"Brought from a dismanteling carvnial about 50 years ago,these squirrels were moved to Brevard, NC. Their genes match the gray squirrel but they are real diggers.. And also protected by law here. They have spread to counties surrounding Transylvania here in the Souther Appalachian of NC."

white squirrel

smallwonders image of the Wool-carder Bee is first place in the Invasive and Non-native Insects category:

"Wool-Carder Bee (Anthidium oblongatum) Found in Michigan This is not a native species. This European bee was found in Pennsylvania in 1995 & has since migrated to other states. These bees are highly aggressive and may have a negative impact on native Anthidium species & native plants they pollinate."

wool carder bee

Second place goes to smallwonders with the Asian Rock-pool mosquito:

"Asian Rock Pool Mosquito (Ochlerotatus japonicus) Found in Michigan A native of Japan first detected here in 1998, most likely imported in a shipment of tires. Suspected of being a vector of Japanese encephalitis & possibly West Nile virus. "

japanese mosquito

ExplorinLauren's humorous image of the Stag beetle (Lucanus elaphus) takes third place: "Title: "I'm Movin; In!" Stag Horn Beetle Taken just outside of Paris, Tx. "

stag beetle