Other Introduced Animals
Terrestrial introduced species include the
Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus
turcicus), common house gecko
(Hemidactylus frenatus), iguana (Iguana
iguana), brown anole (Anolis sagrei), and
Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis),
among numerous others.
Introduced Species include:
  • Australian Pine
  • Brazilian Pepper
  • Melaleuca
  • Batfish
  • Pacu
  • Oscar
  • Iguana
The Florida Keys, as part of south Florida, is home to a variety of
introduced species. Introduced species are those organisms
that are native to somewhere else that have been introduced
through human activities. Many of these species have
detrimental effects on native flora and fauna due to lack of
population controls such as predators and disease. As
population numbers grow out of control, introduced species are
often referred to as invasive species.
Australian Pine
Non-native trees and vines threatened the native flora of
the Florida Keys. The worst offenders are the Australian
pine and the Brazilian pepper. Australian pine
(Casuarina equisetifolia) was introduced into Florida
during the late 1800s, planted as windbreaks and shade
trees. It has since spread rapidly, displacing many native
species due to its quick growth. This pine has shallow
root systems and suffers damage from the frequent
storms as well as soil erosion.
Brazilian Pepper
The Brazilian pepper, (Schinus terebinthifolius), was
orginally introduced as an ornamental plant during the
mid-1800s. Its range has been extended primarily
through seed dispersal by birds as far north as St.
Augustine and Cedar Key. As a successful invader, the
Brazilian pepper poses a serious threat to the native
flora and fauna of the Florida Keys.
Other Introduced Plants
Other introduced plant species include the
latherleaf (Asiaic colubrina), Burma reed
(Neyaudia reynaudiana), lead tree (Leucaena
leucocephala), seaside mahoe (Thespesia
populnea), and melaleuca (Melaleuca
quinquenervia), among numerous
ornamentals used in landscaping.
Although it is illegal to release non-native species
into state waters, introduced species are on the
increase. One such example is the collection of two
orbicular batfish (Platax orbicularis) from Molasses
Reef off Key Largo. These fish, native to the Pacific
Ocean, were probably released by home aquarists
when they grew too large for their aquariums. Other
introduced fishes found in the Keys include pacu
(Colossoma macropomum) and oscars (Astronotus
Information about the Florida Keys and Key  West