Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 179–189 | Cite as

Invasive alien species disrupt spatial and temporal ecology and threaten extinction in an insular, small mammal community

  • W. Ian Montgomery
  • Sally S. J. Montgomery
  • Neil Reid
Original Paper


The impact of invasive bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) on indigenous Irish small mammals, varies with season and habitat. We caught bank voles in deciduous woodland, young coniferous plantations and open habitats such as rank grass. The greater white-toothed shrew was absent from deciduous woods and plantations but did use open habitats with low level cover in addition to field margins. Numbers of both invasive species in field margins during summer were higher than in the previous spring. The indigenous wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), differed in degrees of negative response to invasive species. Wood mice with bank voles in hedgerows had reduced recruitment and lower peak abundance. This effect was less extreme where both invasive species were present. Wood mice numbers along field margins and open habitats were significantly depressed by the presence of the bank vole with no such effect in deciduous woodland or coniferous plantations. Summer recruitment in pygmy shrews was reduced in hedgerows with bank voles. Where greater white-toothed shrew was present, the pygmy shrew was entirely absent from field margins. Species replacement due to invasive small mammals is occurring in their major habitat i.e. field margins and open habitats where there is good ground cover. Pygmy shrew will probably disappear from these habitats throughout Ireland. Wood mice and possibly pygmy shrew may survive in deciduous woodland and conifer plantations. Mitigation of impacts of invasive species should include expansion of woodland in which native species can survive.


Invasive alien species Island Small mammals Species replacement 



NR was supported by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership (NHRP) between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Quercus, Queen’s University Belfast. We are grateful to landowners across Munster for access to their property during fieldwork.

Supplementary material

10530_2014_717_MOESM1_ESM.docx (369 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 369 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Ian Montgomery
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sally S. J. Montgomery
    • 1
  • Neil Reid
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.Quercus, School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK

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