Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Determinants of establishment success for introduced exotic mammals

Mary Bomford A , Rebecca O. Darbyshire A B and Lucy Randall A

A Bureau of Rural Sciences, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: rebecca.darbyshire@brs.gov.au

Wildlife Research 36(3) 192-202 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR08055
Submitted: 11 April 2008  Accepted: 10 February 2009   Published: 15 April 2009


We conducted comparisons for exotic mammal species introduced to New Zealand (28 successful, 4 failed), Australia (24, 17) and Britain (15, 16). Modelling of variables associated with establishment success was constrained by small sample sizes and phylogenetic dependence, so our results should be interpreted with caution. Successful species were subject to more release events, had higher climate matches between their overseas geographic range and their country of introduction, had larger overseas geographic range sizes and were more likely to have established an exotic population elsewhere than was the case for failed species. Of the mammals introduced to New Zealand, successful species also had larger areas of suitable habitat than did failed species. Our findings may guide risk assessments for the import of live mammals to reduce the rate new species establish in the wild.


Andersen M. C. Adams H. Hope B. Powell M. 2004 Risk assessment for invasive species. Risk Analysis 24 787 793 doi:10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00478.x

Atkinson I. A. E. 2006 Introduced mammals in a new environment. Ecological Studies 186 49 66 doi:10.1007/3-540-30023-6_4

Baker S. J. 1990 Escaped exotic mammals in Britain. Mammal Review 20 75 96 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.1990.tb00105.x

Baker R. H. A. Sansford C. E. Jarvis C. H. Cannon R. J. C. MacLeod A. Walters K. F. 2000 The role of climatic mapping in predicting the potential geographical distribution of non-indigenous pests under current and future climates. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 82 57 71 doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(00)00216-4

Bentley A. (1998). ‘An Introduction to the Deer of Australia.’ (Australian Deer Research Foundation: Melbourne.)

Bomford M. (2003). ‘Risk Assessment for the Import and Keeping of Exotic Vertebrates in Australia.’ (Bureau of Rural Sciences: Canberra.)

Bomford M. Kraus F. Barry S. C. Lawrence E. 2009 Predicting establishment success for alien reptiles and amphibians: a role for climate matching. Biological Invasions 11 713 724

Brands S. J. (comp.) (1989–2008). ‘Systema Naturae (2000).’ The Taxonomicon. (Universal Taxonomic Services: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.) Available at
http://sn2000.taxonomy.nl/Taxonomicon/ [Accessed October 2007].

Bureau of Rural Sciences (2006). ‘CLIMATE.’ PC based software. (Bureau of Rural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Canberra.) Available at http://affashop.gov.au/product.asp?prodid=13506 [Verified 11 March 2009]

Bureau of Rural Sciences (2009). ‘CLIMATCH.’ Free-access internet-based software. (Bureau of Rural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Canberra.) Available at http://www.brs.gov.au/Climatch/ [Verified 11 March 2009]

Busby J. R. (1991). BIOCLIM – A bioclimate analysis and prediction system. In ‘Nature Conservation: Cost Effective Biological Surveys and Data Analysis’. (Eds C. R. Margules and M. P. Austin.) pp. 64–68. (CSIRO: Canberra.)

de Vos A. Manville R. H. Van Gelder R. G. 1956 Introduced mammals and their influence on native biota. Zoologica 41 163 194

Dlugosch K. M. Parker I. M. 2008 Founding events in species invasions: genetic variation, adaptive evolution, and the role of multiple introductions. Molecular Ecology 17 431 449

Drake J. M. 2004 Allee effects and the risk of biological invasion. Risk Analysis 24 795 802 doi:10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00479.x

Duncan R. P. , and Forsyth D. M. (2005). Competition and the assembly of introduced bird communities. In ‘Conceptual Ecology and Invasions Biology’. (Eds M. W. Cadotte, S. M. McMahon and T. Fukami.) pp. 415–431. (Springer: Berlin.)

Duncan R. P. Bomford M. Forsyth D. M. Conibear L. 2001 High predictability in introduction outcomes and the geographical range size of introduced Australian birds: a role for climate. Journal of Animal Ecology 70 621 632 doi:10.1046/j.1365-2656.2001.00517.x

Duncan R. P. Blackburn T. M. Sol D. 2003 The ecology of bird introductions. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 34 71 98 doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.34.011802.132353

Ebenhard T. 1988 Introduced birds and mammals and their ecological effects. Swedish Wildlife Research Viltrevy 13 1 107

Fitter R. S. R. (1959). ‘The Ark in Our Midst.’ (Collins: London.)

Fitzpatrick B. M. (1878). ‘Irish Sport and Sportsmen.’ (M. H. Gill and Son: Dublin.)

Forsyth D. M. Duncan R. P. 2001 Propagule size and the relative success of exotic ungulate and bird introductions to New Zealand. American Naturalist 157 583 595

Forsyth D. M. Duncan R. P. Bomford M. Moore G. 2004 Climatic suitability, life-history traits, introduction effort and the establishment and spread of introduced mammals in Australia. Conservation Biology 18 557 569 doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00423.x

Good P. I. , and Hardin J. W. (2003). ‘Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them).’ (John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ.)

Hayes K. R. Barry S. C. 2008 Are there any consistent predictors of invasion success? Biological Invasions 10 483 506 doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9146-5

Heger T. Trepl L. 2003 Predicting biological invasions. Biological Invasions 5 313 321 doi:10.1023/B:BINV.0000005568.44154.12

Hinton H. E. , and Dunn A. M. S. (1967). ‘Mongooses: Their Natural History and Behaviour.’ (Oliver and Boyd: London.)

Holdgate M. W. 1986 Summary and conclusions: characteristics and consequences of biological invasions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 314 733 742 doi:10.1098/rstb.1986.0083

Keller R. P. Lodge D. M. Finnoff D. C. 2007 Risk assessment for invasive species produces net bioeconomic benefits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104 203 207 doi:10.1073/pnas.0605787104

King C. M. (Ed.) (2005). ‘The Handbook of New Zealand Mammals.’ 2nd edn. (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Kolar C. S. Lodge D. M. 2001 Progress in invasion biology: predicting invaders. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 16 199 204 doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(01)02101-2

Kolar C. S. Lodge D. M. 2002 Ecological predictions and risk assessment for alien fishes in North America. Science 298 1233 1236 doi:10.1126/science.1075753

Kriticos D. J. , and Randall R. P. (2001). A comparison of systems to analyse potential weed distributions. In ‘Weed Risk Assessment’. (Eds R. H. Groves, F. D. Panetta and J. G. Virtue.) pp. 61–79. (CSIRO: Melbourne.)

Lande R. 1993 Risks of population extinction from demographic and environmental stochasticity and random catastrophes. American Naturalist 142 911 927 doi:10.1086/285580

Legendre S. Clobert J. Møller A. P. Sorci G. 1999 Demographic stochasticity and social mating system in the process of extinction of small populations: the case of passerines introduced to New Zealand. American Naturalist 153 449 463 doi:10.1086/303195

Long J. L. (2003). ‘Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Lund M. (1994). Commensal rodents. In ‘Rodent Pests and Their Control’. (Eds A. P. Buckle and R. H. Smith.) pp. 23–43. (CAB International: Wallingford, UK.)

McKenna M. C. , and Bell S. K. (1997). ‘Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level.’ (Columbia University Press: New York.)

Myers K. (1986). Introduced vertebrates in Australia with emphasis on the mammals. In ‘Ecology of Biological Invasions: An Australian Perspective’. (Eds R. H. Groves and J. J. Burdon.) pp. 120–136. (Australian Academy of Science: Canberra.)

Noble I. R. (1989). Attributes of invaders and the invading process: terrestrial and vascular plants. In ‘Biological invasions: a global perspective’. (Ed. J. A. Drake.) pp. 301–313. (John Wiley & Sons Ltd.: Chichester, UK.)

Parker S. P. (Ed.) (1990). ‘Grzimek’s Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vols 1–5.’ (McGraw-Hill: New York.)

Pheloung P. C. (1996). ‘CLIMATE: a system to predict the distribution of an organism based on climate preferences.’ (Department of Agriculture: Perth.)

Pimentel D. (Ed.) (2002). ‘Biological Invasions: Environmental and Economic Costs of Alien Plant, Animal, and Microbe Invasions.’ (CRC Press: New York.)

Pimentel D. Lach L. Zuniga R. Morrison D. 2000 Environmental and economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50 53 65 doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0053:EAECON]2.3.CO;2

Ramsey F. L , and Schafer D. W. (2002). ‘The Statistical Sleuth, a Course in Methods of Data Analysis.’ 2nd edn. (Duxbury: Pacific Grove, CA.)

Randall L. A. , Bomford M. , Pratt S. J. , and Crombie J. (2007). Can climate matching and habitat availability be used to predict the distribution of introduced birds? In ‘Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand 1999–2004’. (Eds C. J. R. Robertson, P. Hyvonen, M. J. Fraser and C. R. Pickard.) pp. 369–374. (Ornithological Society of New Zealand: Wellington.)

Sikder I. U. Mal-Sarkar S. Mal T. K. 2006 Knowledge-based risk assessment under uncertainty for species invasion. Risk Analysis 26 239 252 doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2006.00714.x

Smallwood K. S. Salmon T. P. 1992 A rating system for potential bird and mammal pests. Biological Conservation 62 149 159 doi:10.1016/0006-3207(92)91043-R

Smith C. S. Lonsdale W. M. Fortune J. 1999 When to ignore advice: invasion predictions and decision theory. Biological Invasions 1 89 96 doi:10.1023/A:1010091918466

Sol D. Vila M. Kuhn I. 2008 The comparative analysis of historical alien introductions. Biological Invasions 10 1119 1129 doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9189-7

Stohlgren T. J. Schnase J. L. 2006 Risk analysis for biological hazards: what we need to know about invasive species. Risk Analysis 26 163 173 doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2006.00707.x

Strahan R. (Ed.) (1995). ‘The Mammals of Australia.’ (Reed Books: Sydney.)

Sutherst R. W. , Maywald G. F. , Yonow T. , and Stevens P. M. (1998). ‘CLIMEX. Predicting the Effects of Climate on Plants and Animals. Users guide.’ (CSIRO: Melbourne.)

Thomson G. M. (1922). ‘The Naturalisation of Animals and Plants in New Zealand.’ (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Williamson M. (1989). Mathematical models of invasion. In ‘Biological Invasions. A Global Perspective’. (Eds J. A. Drake, H. A. Mooney, F. di Castri, R. H. Groves, F. J. Kruger, M. Rejmanek and M. W. Williamson.) pp. 329–350. (John Wiley and Sons: Chichester, UK.)

Williamson M. 1999 Invasions. Ecography 22 5 12 doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.1999.tb00449.x

Wodzicki K. A. (1950). ‘Introduced Mammals of New Zealand: an Ecological and Economic Survey.’ (DSIR Bulletin 98: Wellington, NZ.)

Yalden D. W. (1999). ‘The History of British Mammals.’ (Poyser: London.)

Export Citation