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Keywords:

  • Birds;
  • geographical range size;
  • invasion pathway;
  • non-native species.

ABSTRACT

It is now generally recognized that human-mediated biological invasion is a multistage process, successively comprising transport, introduction, establishment, and spread, and that a complete understanding of the causes of invasion requires studies of all stages. However, while many studies address the characteristics that influence establishment, relatively few address the characteristics that influence whether or not a species transits the earlier stages of transport and introduction. Here, we use data on the rich exotic avifauna of Florida to assess non-randomness in the identities of species that have passed through the transport and introduction stages. Bird species transported and introduced to Florida are non-random with respect to their taxonomic affiliations, body mass, native geographical range size, and region of origin: introductions are more likely for widespread, large-bodied species from the Neotropics and belonging to the Anatidae, Psittacidae, Ciconiidae, and Passeridae. Data on the identities of species that have attempted to breed but failed, and on the breeding population size for most established species, also allowed us to assess the extent to which the same variables influenced various aspects of post-introduction establishment. Only native geographical range size and latitudinal range mid-point distinguish between these different classes of exotic species. Geographical range size is the most general correlate of different classes of invaders in our analyses.