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    01/2013; Regione del Veneto.
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    ABSTRACT: The introduction of non-native animal species is an important cause of loss of biodiversity, for this reason their population control has received a lot of attention in the scientific literature. While the number of introduced species of many taxa is constantly growing, the eradication of new populations (“a posteriori” action) and the regulation of the trade of live animals and plants (“a priori” strategies) is proceeding slowly. Tree squirrels as a taxon and grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in particular are among the most successful invasive alien species. Here we present the current situation (October 2010) of the grey squirrel in Italy. The grey squirrel was first reported in Piedmont in an area around the Stupinigi forests in 1948. Subsequent major introductions were reported in Genova-Nervi (1966) and the Ticino Valley Regional Park in Lombardy (1999). In 2010, there were 24 areas with a (meta) population or nucleus of grey squirrels: 23 of these were in the three regions most affected by the invasive species Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria. The number of known areas with grey squirrel presence has strongly increased in the last years. With the exception of the Genova-Nervi population, there is a lack of detailed knowledge on grey squirrel distribution and population size in areas where animals are now known or believed to be present. We underline the necessity to introduce immediately a ban on grey squirrel trade and, preferably, to all invasive species of the Sciuridae family, and to start immediate control or eradication actions.
    Hystrix : the Italian Journal of Mammalogy. 01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus is a native American lagomorph. Within the genus Sylvilagus, the eastern cottontail is the species with the widest distribution. From 1950s, the species was introduced to several European countries. A rapid territorial expansion of the introduced eastern cottontails has been observed in many areas of Italy. The eastern cottontail has been demonstrated to play a main role as carrier of exotic parasites. To date, three nematode species, exotic in Italian ecosystems, have been reported from introduced S. floridanus. However, its parasite fauna biodiversity is richer in native populations of the American continent. The aim of this work was to further investigate the gastrointestinal parasites of S. floridanus, to evaluate the potential presence of other exotic species. During 2010, 101 hosts were examined, and three nematodes were collected from their digestive tract. Two parasite species (Obeliscoides cuniculi, Trichostrongylus calcaratus) were already reported in Italy; the isolation of Trichostrongylus affinis is instead the first report of this nematode in Italy and in Europe as a whole. This study wants to highlight the great risks related to the introduction of allochthonous species. The impact of the invasion by alien animal species may be particularly severe for public and animal health, due to the potential introduction of new pathogens. The good number of exotic parasites found in introduced eastern cottontails, together with the few sanitary surveys carried out, suggests that an epidemiological survey, with specimens from multiple localities on a wider geographic range, could lead to interesting findings on parasites of native and alien lagomorphs in Europe.
    Parasitology Research 01/2014; · 2.85 Impact Factor

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May 21, 2014