Terrestrial Terror Final Four: Emerald ash borer vs. feral swine

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By Alice Rossignol and Rachael Gleason

Editor’s note: Great Lakes SmackDown! Terrestrial Terror is an ongoing Great Lakes Echo series.

The competition has dwindled to the Great Lakes SmackDown! Terrestrial Terror Final Four.

On one side of the bracket, two formidable exotics face off: The emerald ash borer and the feral swine. They’ve both proven to be tough contenders, but which one will invade the finals?

Their fighting skills make it too close to call, so help the Echo judges out. Submit your comments and vote below.

Fighter Profiles:

Alias: Green Menace

Legal name: Agrilus planipennis

Home Turf: Eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea

U.S. Fighting Debut: June 2002 (Michigan)

Agent: Ash trees; affects woodlots and landscaped areas. Spreads when people move ash firewood and logs out of a quarantined area.

Preferred Great Lakes fighting arena: All eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces.

Weight/Size class: 1/2 inch-long and 1/8 inch wide

Fighting Skills:

  • Ash trees better watch their behinds with this nasty invader. This tiny green beetle bores into ash trees, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients throughout the tree.
  • Borer infestations cause foliage to wilt, branches to die; heavy infestations thin out urban tree canopy and kill off mature ash trees, which can lead to temperature changes and increased air pollution.
  • The emerald ash borer is a money suck. Infestations economically burden homeowners, who must remove and replace dead ash trees.

Life Expectancy: About one year.

Offspring: Roughly 60 to 90 eggs per female.


Alias: The Beast

Legal name: Sus scrofa

Home Turf: Europe and Asia

U.S. Fighting Debut: 1500s

Agent: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue,

probably with domestic swine too.

They got away or were released, and now Great Lakes folks must deal with “the beast.”

(Other explorers probably brought some too.)

Preferred Great Lakes fighting arena: Mostly in Michigan with populations in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Weight/Size class: Males: 100-440 lbs. Females: 80-330 lbs.

Fighting Skills:

  • Ever the athletes, these pigs are swift and multi-talented — They can run up to 30 miles per hour and are excellent swimmers.
  • Well-known as big bullies, these swine eat whatever plant or animals are in their path.
  • These bad boys and girls can give you diseases and parasites like: brucellosis, balantidiasis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, trichostrongylosis, sarcoptic mange, tuberculosis, tularemia, anthrax, rabies and the plague ­­— Just to name a few.
  • Trampling is a feral swine strong suit. They’ve been known to damage crops, plant communities, vehicles, turf, soil and even archaeological sites.

Life Expectancy: 15 to 25 years.

Offspring: Females can start breeding at 6 months of age and can produce 4 litters a year of 4 to 12 piglets.

One thought on “Terrestrial Terror Final Four: Emerald ash borer vs. feral swine

  1. This is genius. It is one of the most fun and interesting ways to teach about pest threats that I have ever seen. Kudos!

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