Watching Out for Invasive Alien Species

Invasive alien species (IAS) are considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity.

The Biological Records Centre is involved both in the research to identify potential threats to Great Britain, known as horzon scanning, and in providing a system that allows members of the public to report potential sightings.

A recent paper264 considered 591 species and found 30 to represent a high risk and another 63 a medium risk based upon their likelihood of arrival and establishment and the severity of their impact.

The quagga mussel, Dreissena rostriformis bugensis, was ranked number one. The asian hornet, Vespa velutina, which has been much in the news, was ranked equal second with 9 other species.

In collaboration with the Non-native Species Secretariat, it is possible to submit reports of possible sightings with photographs to assist identification. Submissions are immediately forwarded to species experts for examination so that any necessary response can be taken.

Picture of asian hornet
Asian hornet.
Picture: Courtesy The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright