Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States : OTA

Summary, Issues and Options September 1993 OTA-F-565

The movement of plants, animals, and microbes beyond their natural range is much like a game of biological roulette. Once in a new environment, an organism may simply die. Or it may take hold and reproduce, but with little noticeable effect on its surroundings. But sometimes a new species spreads unimpeded, with devastating ecological or economic results. This latter category-including species like the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar)-is largely the focus of, and the reason for, this assessment.

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