Monday, October 3, 2011

Coming Soon to Virginia: Armadillos

Armadillo FeetGlobal warming has species on the move - for instance, making Vermont less hospitable to its iconic maple trees. Meanwhile, warm-weather species are taking the opportunity to move north, and according to a recent study, armadillos could move north into Virgina & across the entire Mid-Atlantic region:
The consequences of such changes are unclear. Armadillos are a welcome help to residents dealing with fire ants, a big concern in the South, McDonough said. But they're also a nest predator and could put added pressure on local quail populations already trying to defend against possums, raccoons and snakes.

[University of Michigan biology professor Philip] Myers' research in Michigan, meanwhile, suggests southern species are replacing northern ones, rather than simply slotting into the local fauna.

"To predict the impact of adding a chipmunk or subtracting a mouse, you have to know a lot more about the natural history of the communities than we do ... Potentially there are huge changes that could be a consequence of messing around with the species present," Myers said.
See a map of the armadillo's projected range at DailyClimate.org.

The quail connection is an example of the cascading effects of the climate crisis. Even if a quail can survive in a region that's rapidly becoming warmer & wetter, it may not survive a new predator moving into its habitat. It's also a major reason so many sportsmen have become climate activists.
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