As human beings, if there's one thing we're really, really good at, it's driving species to extinction. You're probably doing it right now, without even trying. So it's paradoxical that there are some species out there that we just can't exterminate, and not for want of trying. These creatures breed out of control and march steadily forth, taking human territory miles at a time. So while you're sitting there, calmly reading things on the Internet ...
8Zebra Mussels Are Choking the Rivers
What happens when a creature can produce one million eggs a year? This.
They all have names, and at least 40,000 are called Dave.
Those are zebra mussels. They invaded the USA by hitching rides in the ballast water of Russian ships, and once they hit the rivers in the U.S., they spread rapidly, dominating the Great Lakes. So what's the big deal? It's not like they bite or anything. Well, zebra mussels only do one thing, but it turns out that they're really, really good at it: They stick.
Sailors call them "Congressmen of the Sea."
All they need is a hard surface that stays still for 20 seconds, and they'll superglue themselves right on that shit, covering boats, anchors, motors, lobsters, turtles and even other mussels. Those who can't grab hold of anything wind up washing up by the tons on beaches.
This isn't just inconvenient for turtles who suddenly find themselves weighed down in a sticky mussel flash mob -- the cost to us is catastrophic. In 1989, for example, a city in Michigan lost its water supply for three days because the mussels had crammed themselves into the pipe, cementing it shut.
"We're going to need all the Drano."
Since then, millions of dollars have been spent each year attempting to control the legions of mussels, but we can only slow them down. They can't be eradicated with chemicals without contaminating the water supply, and they multiply too quickly to remove by hand.
In short, these mussels are kicking our asses, which is pretty good for an animal that doesn't know how to move or do anything.
It's like a sit-in protest against the whole of humanity.
7Cownose Rays Are Storming the Beaches
What you're looking at up there is a picture of thousands upon thousands of cownose rays taken by Florian Schulz, the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year in 2010. While up close it looks like it would fit right in as an ancillary character in a movie about a cartoon clownfish ...
Voiced by Cameron Diaz.
... what these animals lack in intimidation they more than make up for in Persians-at-Thermopylae-style invasion numbers.
Ever since humans were considerate enough to overfish their main predators (sharks), the cownose ray population has exploded like a meth lab all over the east coasts of the American continents from New England to Brazil, and have established a presence on the African west coast. Wherever they go, they devastate the local oysters, clams and scallops, as well as the industries that rely on them.
It's like an Escher painting come alive.
In an attempt to encourage stingray murder while also trying to come up with a replacement for the decimated shellfish crop, Virginia state officials had a novel idea: Put the rays on the menu. They renamed the cownose ray the more delectable "Chesapeake ray" (because who would ever want to eat a cow), and hyped the critters as having a taste similar to veal. Cooking demonstrations were held and recipes were promoted by famous chefs, but results were described as "less than impressive."
People are picky about what planet-engulfing creatures they want to eat.
Well, shit, what are we going to do about these massive swarms of rays, then? Looks like it's time for science to finally breed those megasharks the SyFy network has been promising us.