From Alien Species that destroy the ecosystem to Delicious Thai Dishes

Alien species are exotic animals that destroy the ecosystem and cause a lot of damage in many countries. However, people in a certain country can put the lives of those alien species to an end, which is the Thais who are scarier than those alien species, the ones who turn the alien species into delicious food.

Today, ACU PAY will make you take a look at some alien species that used to be ecosystem destroyers that have been turned into Thai food that foreigners may be at a loss for words. 

What is Alien Species?

Alien Species are foreign living things that do not originate in that environmental area but from the import or propagation. This can cause damaged changes in the traditional ecosystem. It is a problem for farmers in many countries.

There are 2 types of Alien species

Non invasive alien species

This type of alien species does not intentionally interfere with the ecosystem or directly affect the ecosystem. They are species that are non-competitive or disrupt the habitat of other organisms such as Tilapia, Crap, Asian carp, etc.

Invasive alien species

It is a type that likes competition and it affects direct ecosystems. Importantly, it is a type that propagates rapidly, causing changes in ecosystems and indigenous organisms such as the Bombay locust, African Sharptooth Catfish, Golden Apple Snail, etc.

Bombay locust

Bombay locust is one of the master pests that cause damage all over the world, especially in Africa where a swarm of Bombay locusts destroys agricultural crops causing more than 8 million Africans to be in famine before spreading into India and Pakistan. 

Around 1982-1987, a big swarm of Bombay Locusts migrated to Thailand and damaged agricultural crops such as corn and potatoes. The damage was widespread, and many provinces were declared locust outbreak areas.

The government at that time had a plan to spray an insecticide to get rid of these bad insects. However, villagers found a faster way to eliminate them which was to fry them in a hot oil, drop seasoning sauce, sprinkle it with pepper, and then it became a delicious snack which ended the invasion of the Bombay Locust. 

Since it has the taste that Thai people like, Thailand has to import Bombay Locust from abroad to do farming for a trade particularly.

Golden Apple Snail

Golden apple snail is a freshwater snail that is native in South Africa. Thailand received this snail from Japan and Taiwan to get rid of algae and food scraps in fish tanks. It became the popular snail to raise in 1987.

The golden apple snail was released into nature, becoming one of the species that destroys ecosystems, especially with farmers, causing a lot of headache for farmers because golden apple snails can eat rice seedlings in a field and breed quickly, making it impossible to eliminate all of them. 

In the first phase, the chemicals were used to get rid of them but chemical residues, causing a turning point. Villagers put golden apple snails in Tam Pa (Thai papaya salad) and found that the texture of the snails is soft and sticky which is very delicious and liked by Thai people. At present time, the golden apple snails are cooked into various dishes such as steamed and served with spicy sauce dipping, spicy raw pork/beef salad, and curry and the dishes from the snails continue to gain popularity. 

The Golden Apple Snails became economic animals immediately. They were caught and sold to middlemen, including opening a farm to raise the golden apple snails for consumption and generate income for farmers.

Common sucker

Common sucker or Brown hoplo is native to the waters of South America. In 1977, this type of fish was brought into Thailand to clean the fish tank. The big problem is that Common suckers are ferocious. If there is not enough food, they attack and eat other animals.

In addition, common suckers can fully grow up to 2 meters, so when the fish were bigger or causing problems in the “fish tanks”, many people chose to dump these fish in water sources. It is also believed that the common sucker is a Rahu fish that will help ward off misfortune if we release them back to nature.

When released to natural water sources, they propagate rapidly. They also attack and hunt local water animals and destroy the water supply ecosystem in Thailand. The government, therefore, recommends eliminating common suckers if found in natural water sources as well as campaigning not to release the common suckers into water sources as well.

Although the appearance and shape of common suckers are different from ordinary fish, common suckers can be cooked for various menus like normal fish. People eat it and say that it tastes better than other fish but it must be selected in a clean water source with running water at all times to prevent residual toxins.

African Sharptooth Catfish

African sharptooth catfish is caused by the mating between Broadhead catfish and African catfish that are fast-growing, can eat all kinds of food, resistant to disease. Turned out that African sharptooth catfish can breed well until it is widely mixed across species.

African sharptooth catfish has become another economic animal in Thailand, but should not be released into water sources because these fish will “extravagantly eat” fish, shrimp, clams, and small aquatic animals. “African sharptooth catfish 1 ton can eat about 1.8 million aquatic animals per year”. It is considered to destroy an enormous number of ecosystems.

However, the invasion of African sharptooth catfish can be stopped by the heat and seasoning from Thai people by grilling, stewing, spicy stir-frying, or frying to make crispy catfish salad as well.


Crayfish is another type of aquatic animal that has been raised for beauty. In recent years, crayfish have been raised for speculation as baby shrimp grow, causing a high trading price, till it overflows the market. It has been seen spreading into natural waters such as at Sri Dit Waterfall, Phetchabun.

This shrimp is native to North America, Europe, Oceania and has been dubbed “freshwater lobsters,” giving it the power to catch local aquatic animals for food and harm the ecosystem. It also steals food and other aquatic animals’ habitats.

In fact, crayfish is very popular in China because it has a more varied taste and chewy texture than normal shrimp. It is more suitable for frying, and boiling than roasting because of its low meat content which is different from Thai freshwater shrimp.

Blackchin tilapia

” Blackchin tilapia” originated in Africa, but it was brought into Thailand by someone, but became bored and released into natural water sources until it was propagated in the Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram. It has affected villagers who breed shrimp and prawns because the fish have eaten up the food for shrimps and has already spread to many places in Thailand, such as Mae Klong, Chao Phraya River basin, and along the Gulf of Thailand Coast.

The way to reduce the number of Blackchin tilapia started by turning them into food for fish, shrimp, and crab. Later, Phetchaburi farmers came up with the idea of using a large number of Blackchin tilapia to process into “fish sauce” and sell them in the community. It also reduces the number of alien species as well.

Nevertheless, the problem is that there has not been enough effort to hunt Blackchin tilapia in order to get rid of it or turn it into something else. What happens is that when people find this fish in their pond area, they let it propagate naturally. As a result, the entire ecosystem was destroyed by Blackchin tilapia.

related articles