Raccoon Procyon lotor
Population of this North American predator in Poland was founded around 1990 by individuals immigrating from eastern Germany after their introduction there before WW II. By now the species invaded the western part of the country. Recently racoons are more and more popular as pets. As a consequence, the number of records of individuals that escaped or were released is increasing throughout Poland. Raccoons are omnivorous and may have negative impact not only on ground-nesting birds but, thanks to climbing skills, also on species breeding over the ground. In addition, a nematode Baylisascaris procyonis, carried by racoons, may be dangerous for humans. Any information on occurrence of this species is very precious.
Grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis
The North American Grey squirrel carries a poxvirus that poses a deadly threat for the European red squirrels. The greys are also effective competitors for food. Their invasion on the British Isles, started by introduction in 1850s, led to dramatic decrease in the native squirrels and locally, to its complete extirpation. A similar scenario, albeit on a smaller scale, continues in northern Italy – the other area of Grey squirrel occurrence in Europe. There are no confirmed records of this species in Poland yet. However, there are recent cases of keeping it as pets. Although this fashion is not popular, there is a risk of escapes and deliberate releases of captive animals into the wild. Therefore any information on keeping of this species and any records of free-ranging Grey squirrels are very important. It should be remembered, however, that there is a risk of misidentification with dark form of the native red squirrel.
Coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata
The Coneflower was introduced from North America to Europe in the 17th, and to Poland at the end of the 18th century. Ornamental values and ease of cultivation soon made it very popular garden flower. Together with removed plant material it was also spread outside gardens, although there were no records of its spread in the wild. Recently, however, in some parts of Poland (eg. in the Bieszczady Mts. in SE part of the country) a rapid expansion of this species has been recorded, particularly along streams. Locally coneflowers became so numerous that they form dense patches that effectively subdue any native vegetation. The potential consequences of this phenomenon have not been sufficiently recognized at the country scale, therefore any information on spread of this species is very important.
New alien species recorded in the Polish Baltic
A Mexican Gulf clam in the Vistula Lagoon
A new article in "Folia Malacologica" reports discovery Gulf wegde clam Rangia cuneata in the Polish part of the Vistula lagoon.
Common wall lizard – a new alien species in Poland
A recent article in Herpetology Notes reports discovery of 2 populations of Common wall lizard Podarcis muralis in quarries near the town of Strzelin (SW Poland).
New data on alien spiders in Poland
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are commonly regarded as a major threat to the biological diversity on a global scale, second only to habitat loss. Although the problem is well recognised, concerted attempts to solve it have only been undertaken within last decades few years. Collection and dissemination of information on IAS are widely recognised as crucial components for solving the problems they pose.
In 1999, the database on species introduced into Poland was developed at the Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow for the Ministry of the Environment. In 2003, thanks to a grant from the US State Department, part of the data was translated and made accessible on the Internet.