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 valuable. Photo by Magdalena Bartoszewicz
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. Photo by Renata i Marek Kosińscy
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.Photo by Ryszard Babiasz
Golden jackal Canis aureus
In the past the natural range of the golden jackal extended in southern Asia, central and northern Africa and in south-eastern Europe. After 1950 the species started expansion towards the north and west. Reproducing populations are already found e.g. in Austria and Hungary, and single individuals were recorded e.g. in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, very close to the Polish border. Moreover, jackals were also recorded in Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. Although it seems that these records result from self-propelled range expansion, possibility of deliberate introductions or escapes cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, it can be expected that the species may also occur in Poland. Any relevant information is very valuable. However, correct identification of jackal may be difficult, as it may resemble wolf. Photo by Miha Krofel
Military aspect of biological invasions
A new alien rush, north American Juncus anthelatus, was discovered in a the former military training area near Żagań (SW Poland). In 2014, 1200 tussocks were recorded there.
Yet another alien crustacean in the Baltic Sea
„Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies” has just published an article documenting records of an oriental shrimp Palaemon macrodactylus in the Wisła Śmiała estuary. This is the first occurrence of this species for the whole Baltic.
A new alien crustacean in the Baltic
A new alien crustacean, Megabalanus coccopoma, was found in 2014 Gdynia. Its natural range extends in the Pacific, from Mexico down to Peru.
New alien species recorded in the Polish Baltic
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.