Giant Salvinia–A Real Life Alien Invader

A handful of Giant Salvinia.

A handful of Giant Salvinia.

This is Passport to Texas

People of a certain age recall the arcade game Space Invaders. It was fun and pretend. Today Giant Salvinia is a not so fun, real-life alien invader found in Texas Lakes.

Giant Salvinia is from South America originally and it came to the United States through the aquatic gardening and the aquarium industry.

Natural Resources Specialist, John Findeisen, leads the Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Team at TPW.

It’s a floating aquatic fern. It appears to have a root but what looks like a root is nothing more than a modified leaf. It does go through very, very rapid vegetative reproduction where it replicates itself. If it gets cut in half each one of those halves will become a new plant.

This invasive alien plant cuts off sunlight to submersed aquatic vegetation which is a key ingredient in sustaining aquatic life.

Once you start losing that habitat, native life is just going to leave. In addition to that we’re not getting the production of oxygen into the water column itself. So basically, it’s an aquatic desert.

The Giant Salvinia threat to lakes is real. Boaters: always clean, drain and dry all watercraft and equipment before leaving the boat ramp. Transporting Giant Salvinia, or any invasive species, is prohibited by law.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program Supports our Series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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