Ecological effects and distribution of invasive non-native mammals on the Canary Islands
- 1The ecological effects and distribution of 13 invasive non-native mammal species on the Canary Islands are reviewed.
- 2Six species, representing six different taxonomic orders, are widely distributed and live on all seven main islands of the Canarian Archipelago: Felis catus, Capra hircus, Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus, Mus domesticus and Oryctolagus cuniculus. Atelerix algirus is found on four islands while six further species are present on only one island: Crocidura russula, Suncus etruscus, Rousettus egyptiacus, Ovis gmelini, Ammotragus lervia and Atlantoxerus getulus.
- 3Five species have an omnivorous diet, four are herbivorous, two insectivorous, one frugivorous and one carnivorous. The ecological effects and damage caused by these species in the natural habitats of the Canaries are similar to those in other insular regions. To our knowledge, the effects of two species, A. lervia (herbivorous) and A. getulus (omnivorous), are as yet unreported for other insular environments.
- 4Two of the most pernicious effects caused by invasive non-native mammal species in the Canaries consist of predation by feral cats of the three giant lizard species present in the western islands, but especially Gallotia gomerana, which is now on the verge of extinction; and the damage that the four species of herbivores cause to the endemic flora of the archipelago.