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Alien animals in Italy: a list of alien species that in Italy are causing damage to biodiversity, the territory and agriculture.
An alien species has nothing ofextraterrestrial. The term "alien species" can be read as a synonym forallochthonous species. Simply, in biology this is how a species is defined which, due to human activities, finds itself colonizing a territory other than its natural habitat. When an alien species integrates perfectly into the new habitat, it is said that the species is itselfnaturalized. When the species, on the other hand, causes damage to the new ecosystem, we speak of an invasive alien species. On this page we will talk only about some of the invasive alien species that have made headlines in recent times.
Alien animals in Italy: reptiles
Italy hosts a large number of alien, marine, freshwater and terrestrial species. Among the aquatic species (freshwater) we report the presence of 38 alien freshwater fish, of these, only 13 have completely naturalized and distributed in our country. The spread of the practice of breedingexotic specieshas also led to the introduction of reptiles, among these, the most common are:
- Trachemys scripta
- Testudo graeca
- Testudo marginata
In Puglia and Sicily there are settlements of alien animals such as Chamaeleo chamaeleon and Agama agama. For now, the populations reported should not be disturbing.
Chamaeleo chamaeleo, Testudo marginata and Testudo graeca do not seem to pose a real threat to the survival of any of the native species. However, it is important to point out that the tortoise of the Testudo graeca species can be a carrier of viruses that are dangerous for the health of other animal species. As for Trachemys scripta elegans in Italy, this reptile could cause damage to homegrown tortoise populations.
Partial list of alien species in Italy
There are many kinds ofalien animals in Italy. We are talking about both marine and terrestrial species. Among the species we point out the most invasive or in any case at the center of media attention.
Lionfish or Lionfish
The Pterois volitans species is among the most recently introduced marine alien species. In the 90s, the species was accidentally introduced into the Atlantic Ocean, progressively invading the Caribbean Sea. Recently, lionfish has also arrived in the Mediterranean and near our coasts. For all information: Scorpion fish.
Popillia japonica is a species that infests and destroys wild plants, fruit plants, ornamental plants ... It has recently arrived in Italy causing damage to local agriculture. For all information, I refer you to the page: Japanese beetle.
It is the alien species nightmare of all beekeepers. Since 2005 it has arrived in Europe, first in France and from there it has spread to Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy. This wasp can reach a length of 50 mm and its danger is linked to predation: it feeds on bees and is very invasive. For all information on thisItalian alien species: Vespa velutina
Red palm weevil
The boom took place a few years ago. Today the problem seems to have diminished. For all information on thisalien specieswe refer you to the page: Red palm weevil
Therenutria, Myocastor coypus, is an animal from South America, bred here in Italy to exploit its leather in the textile field.
Following the lack of commercial success of its fur, some specimens have been imprudently released into the environment by breeders. Over the course of a few years, the population of this mammal has reached high numbers with harmful consequences for the environment, the territory and the agricultural sector. For more information on regional and provincial measures for the containment of nutria, we refer you to the page: How to eliminate Nutria.
Tiger mosquito, Korean and Japanese mosquito
Unfortunately, in the short term, we risk finding ourselves with mosquitoes capable of resisting even in winter. Can you imagine a life with mosquitoes even in winter? We will soon hear about the mountain mosquitoes. Among the species of mosquitoes present in Italy, we point out the three alien species known by the common names of tiger mosquito, Korean mosquito and Japanese mosquito. For all information on the introduction of these alien species in Italy, please refer to the page: types of mosquitoes