Creative Nonnatives: Painting Invasive Insects of the United States

Monica Tynan

Document Type Article


An invasive species is a nonnative organism that may cause damage to an ecosystem. Invasive species cause problems in an environment by outcompeting native organisms for resources or by feeding upon native species. Invasive insects in particular can harm an ecosystem by consuming foliage and decreasing biodiversity. During my experience at the Preisser Lab at the University of Rhode Island, I witnessed rsthand the damage that invasive insects can do to a tree population, and I learned about how ecosystem dynamics can be disrupted by the introduction of a nonnative species.

My project portrays an aesthetically pleasing visualization of several di erent species of invasive insects. I have created six acrylic paintings depicting six di erent invasive insects: the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Emerald Ash Borer, European Paper Wasp, Japanese Beetle, and Spotted Lantern y. All species are considered invasive insects in the United States and are known to cause ecological damage. All paintings are 16”x16” and completed on plywood.

As I am a Biological Sciences major and an Art minor, this project draws together my two areas of study. I have improved my technical skills at planning pieces and painting, as well as expanded my knowledge of ecosystem dynamics of invasive species for this collection. I hope that by researching insects for this project I have become a better scientist, and by planning and completing all six paintings I have become a better artist.