Written by Mary Batten
Illustrated by Beverly J. Doyle
This newly revised book was been recommended by both the National Science Teachers Association and by the Izaak Walton League of America in an earlier edition. Entertaining as well as educational, it cites many examples of introduction of plants and animals into ecosystems where they were not developed. In each and every case, the new plant or animal had a long-lasting, or even disastrous effect on the new ecosystem. Some of the examples are well-known, but some are more obscure and surprising. Background includes a discussion of how alien introduction has accelerated since the 1800s and more mobility for humans. A prime example is pigs in Hawaii. Well-meaning settlers brought the pigs. The pigs spread and created small ponds by rooting in the dirt. Sailors inadvertently released mosquito larvae. And the mosquitos wiped out several species of birds. Starlings, not native to North America, were released in New York’s Central Park and now compete for food and nesting with others throughout America. Other examples are gypsy moths, Africanized bees, fire ants, zebra mussels, brown tree snakes in Guam, kudzu, and cane toads in Australia. Many alien species are introduced inadvertently, but even the well-meaning introductions can be devastating.
The illustrations are clear and accurate, adding to the educational value. There’s even a key for native species, endangered or extinct species, and aliens.
- Title: Aliens from Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems
- Author: Mary Batten
- Illustrator: Beverly J. Doyle
- Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2016
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
- Grade Level: 3 to 6
- Genre: Nonfiction, Environment
- ISBN: 978-1-56145-903-2
- Extras: Glossary, For Further Reading, Websites, Author’s Note