Costs of amphibian and reptile invasions topped US$17 billion between 1986 and 2020 – Eurasia Review

According to a study published in Scientific reports. The findings underscore the need for more effective policies to limit the spread of current and future amphibian and reptile invasions.

Species invasions can cause damage, including the displacement or extinction of native species, the spread of disease, and crop loss. Ismael Soto and his colleagues examined the global costs of amphibian and reptile invasions using data from the InvaCost database, which compiles estimates of the economic costs of species invasions. Data were extracted from peer-reviewed articles, documents on web pages of governmental, academic, and nongovernmental organizations, and documents retrieved from experts in biological invasion.

The authors found that between 1986 and 2020, the total cost of reptile and amphibian invasions exceeded US$17.0 billion. Of this total, amphibian invasions cost US$6.3 billion, reptile invasions cost US$10.4 billion, and invasions involving both amphibians and reptiles cost US$0.3 billion. . 96.3% (US$6.0 billion) of amphibian costs were attributed to a single species, the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), while 99.3% ($10.3 billion) of reptile costs were attributed to brown snakes alone (Irregular Boiga). 99.7% ($6.3 billion) of amphibian costs were associated with invasion management, such as eradicating invasive species. 96.6% ($10.0 billion) of reptile costs were associated with damage from invasions, such as crop yield losses. For amphibian invasions, 96.3% ($6.0 billion) of the economic costs were incurred by European countries, while 99.6% ($10.4 billion) of the costs due to reptiles have been incurred by countries in Oceania and the Pacific Islands.

The authors suggest that the economic costs of amphibian and reptile invasions could be reduced by investing in measures to limit the global transport of invasive species and enable early detection of invasions. This could reduce the need for long-term management of species invasions and the extent of damage suffered, they add.

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