James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service
Feb. 4, 2004
Not all battles are fought with weapons. Some are about trying to survive in a new and strange place. Over the years, there have been many science fiction stories looking at what might happen if aliens tried to invade us. But we don't have to look to space for alien invaders.
For example, this image shows such a battle raging right here on Earth. The kudzu vine, imported from Japan in the early 1900s for its scented flowers and as forage for livestock, is overwhelming forests in the southeastern United States. It grows extremely quickly. As it does, it climbs other plants and blocks their leaves from receiving sunlight. Green plants need sunlight to manufacture their food. Even trees will eventually starve to death beneath the kudzu.
There are many examples of real-life alien invaders. You probably have one or more in your own community, right now. Check the list below. You may be part of the struggle already!
Which of these "aliens" is invading where you live? Take a moment to find out more about one (or more) of them. Where did it come from? What harm does it cause? How can they be removed or controlled?
The first name is the common name in English for the animal or plant. The name in italics is the scientific name, in Latin. The scientific name is very useful because it is the same all over the world, regardless of language.
Send a digital image of an alien plant or animal that is invading your space to email@example.com. Tell us a little about the plant or animal. Please include your first name, age, city or town, and state. If you are under 13 years old, get your parent's permission to write to us. You may be eligible to win a prize!
This week's recommended scifi books
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