Fortune favours the bold: can behaviour explain why some animal species become invasive?

Fortune favours the bold: can behaviour explain why some animal species become invasive?

A new study has found that adaptability is the key to invasive species succeeding in non-native environments.

Lizards

The study published in Animal Behaviour compared the behaviour of two closely related lizards to understand why only one species has become established in several locations throughout the world.

The Italian Wall Lizard and Green Iberian Wall Lizard may look like close relatives, but key differences in their behaviour explained why the Italian Wall Lizard is the successful invasive species of the two.

Researchers from Macquarie University found that the invasive lizard was more exploratory, bold, and comfortable in new environments—all factors that are likely to contribute to the lizard’s success as an invasive species. The invasive Italian Wall Lizard was also more flexible in its behaviour, pointing to adaptability as an essential behavioural trait for successfully invading different environments.

Dr Isabel Damas-Moreira, the lead author of the study says invasive species have enormous ecological and economic costs and the world’s growing population will create more opportunities for these species to spread.

“Invasive species like the Italian Wall Lizard use human transportation to hitchhike and invade new locations,” she says.

Find out more.

Published 26 April 2019.

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