Nutria (Myocastor coypus)

Origin and Date of Introduction: Southern South America; late 1930's.

Reason for Introduction: Deliberate, for fur industry, and as biocontrol of water hyacinth and alligator weed control (accidentally escaped from captivity in 1937).

Preferred Habitat: Marshes and swamps.

Ecological / Economic Damage: Nutria "eat-outs" damage 100,000 acres of coastal wetlands in Louisiana, rendering them even more vulnerable to the erosion that is diminishing the state by 25 square miles annually.

Control Options: Bounty hunting and trapping; increased harvest for fur and meat.


Photo: Flickr (Tambako The Jaguar)

Futher Reading: USGS NAS (Nonindigenous Aquatic Species)