Kill the Lizard, but Spare the Cat: Invasive Species and Phylogenetic Hegemony

Stephen Michael Lochetto (Penn State Harrisburg)

Florida is ground zero in the invasive species war, especially reptiles. Many factors combined to make the state a “perfect storm” of exotic colonization. Invasive species displace native fauna and cause an economic hemorrhage. Florida advocates euthanasia for reptilian invaders, compared to spaying/neutering its burgeoning feral cat population. This paper will explicate reasons for this differential response by analyzing comments on articles, videos and by using digital ethnography. I assert that media and legislative portrayals of animals can manipulate public (mis) perception. As a result a “phylogenetic hegemony” is created or otherwise reinforced that marginalizes reptiles and places mammals as more important.

Part of 62-01 No Longer "Humanique": Posthuman Folklore and the Relationship between Humans, Plants, and Animals, Saturday, October 23, 10:30 am–12:00 pm