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Exotic Species

  • By: Scott R. Abella
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Exotic species, also termed nonindigenous, nonnative, alien, naturalized, or introduced, are species that are not native to a particular geographic area and were introduced intentionally or unintentionally by human activities. These introductions allow the species to overcome natural barriers to dispersal. In practice, classifying a species as native or exotic can be difficult when it is unclear how or when a species was introduced or if hybridization occurred with native species. Exotic species can be any type of organism, including microorganisms, plants, or animals. It is important to recognize that a species exotic in one area has an area to which it is native and that the behavior of the species in the two habitats can be completely different. Key features of exotic species include ...

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