Now is the winter of our discontent, New York: The recent discovery of a cold-resistant cockroach at the High Line will have this writer keeping vigil at the air vent over his bed for the next six months.
But Periplaneta japonica, or the Yamato cockroach, as it is sometimes known, isn’t the only invasive species the New York City area hosts. Not by a long shot. Ranging from plankton to land mammals, the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse lists 83 separate species of varying degrees of invasiveness across the state. Here are four other species who may not chew holes in your cereal box, but are contributing to ecological degradation across the state.
The Eurasian Boar (pictured above)
These 200-pound animals are the wild precursors to the pigs we either eat or keep as pets. They have been found across upstate New York. Unlikely as it is that your apartment has an Eurasian boar infestation you haven’t yet noticed, Eurasian boars have sometimes wandered into cities across their range — basically the entire Northern Hemisphere.
The Beech Scale
Cryptococcus fagisuga is a little insect, usually no more than 1 millimeter in size. But these bugs that appear like green dandruff to the naked eye are actually behind beech bark disease, a rot killing beech trees across the Eastern U.S. and in Europe.
You know the story: Eighteenth-century European merchant meets earthworm. Earthworm hitches a ride to the New World. Earthworm contributes to the destruction of temperate forests across two continents.
Those beautiful white sculptures floating serenely in the ponds of Central Park? More like biting, defecating harbingers of ecological doom. Mute Swans rate a “High” in the Invasive Species Clearinghouse invasiveness ranking. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the birds were brought from Europe in the late 19th century for their aesthetic value. Grazing flocks are contributing to the depletion of aquatic vegetation in the city and throughout the state.