Uninvited guests: an overview of introduced vertebrate species in Iran


  • Asef Rezaeian Department of Fishery and Environmental science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran
  • Alireza Mohammadi Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Recourses, University of Jiroft, Jiroft, Iran
  • Mohammad Hossein Khanjani Department of Fisheries Sciences and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Jiroft, Jiroft, Iran




An introduced species is one that enters and occupies a habitat where it does not naturally occur. We have reviewed articles and media sources to shed light on the introduced vertebrate species (hereafter IVS) of Iran. Here, we present a list of IVS in Iran which have the potential to become invasive and are the ones that can harm biodiversity. We aggregated information on their approximate range in the country, origin, probable means of introduction, as well as conservation status based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Based on the results of this study, 63 such species were recognized as introduced. Human population size in each province was a correlate of the number of introduced species. We suggest that this correlation exists because human demand for exotic species as pets or livestock may result in the release of invasive species into the wild. Further investigations on the root causes of their emergence, their range in Iran, and their ecological interactions are urgently needed. Finally, we propose educating the public, and government authorities about IVS in order to encourage better management and prevent future introductions. We recommend that species with a high level of invasiveness should be targeted for eradication.


Afroosheh, M., Rajabizadeh, M., Rastegar-Pouyani, N., & Kami, H.G. 2010. The Brahminy Blind Snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus (Daudin, 1803), a newcomer to Iran (Ophidia: Typhlopidae). Zoology in the Middle East, 50(1), 135–137.

Anderson, C.J., Van De Kerk, M., Pine, W.E., Hostetler, M.E., Heard, D.J., & Johnson, S.A. 2019. Population estimate and management options for introduced rhesus macaques. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 83(2), 295-303.

Büyüktahtakın, İ.E., & Haight, R.G .2018. A review of operations research models in invasive species management: state of the art, challenges, and future directions. Annals of Operations Research, 271(2), 357-403.

Blouin, D. D. 2013. Are dogs children, companions, or just animals? Understanding variations in people's orientations toward animals. Anthrozoös, 26(2), 279-294.

Clout, M.N. and Williams, P.A. 2009. Invasive species management: a handbook of principles and techniques.

Diamond, J.M. 1989. Overview of recent extinctions. In: Conservation for the Twenty-first Century (Eds D. Western & M.C. Pearl), pp. 37-41. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Esmaeili, H.R., Sayyadzadeh, G., Eagderi, S., Abbasi, K. 2018. Checklist of freshwater fishes of Iran. Fish Taxa, 3(3): 1-95.

Esmaeili, H.R., Teimori, A., Owfi, F., Abbasi K., Coad, B.W. 2014. Alien and invasive freshwater fish species in Iran: Diversity, environmental impacts and management. Iranian Journal of Ichthyology, 1(2): 61–72.

Farashi A, Kaboli M, Karami M. 2011. Predicting the invasion trend of raccoon invasive species in the north of Iran using Genetic Algorithm Rule-set Prediction (GARP). Journal of Natural Environment, 64 (3): 243–253.

Farashi A, Kaboli M, Karami M. 2013. Predicting range expansion of invasive raccoons in northern Iran using ENFA model at two different scales. Ecological Informatics 15: 96–102.

Farashi A, Najafabadi MS. 2015. Modeling the spread of invasive nutrias (Myocastor coypus) over Iran. Ecological Complexity 22: 59–64.

Farashi A, Najafabadi MS. 2017. A model to predict dispersion of the alien Nutria, Myocastor coypus Molina, 1782 (Rodentia), in Northern Iran. Ecological Complexity 69: 65–70.

Farashi, A., & Naderi, M. 2017. Predicting invasion risk of raccoon Procyon lotor in Iran using environmental niche models. Landscape and Ecological Engineering, 13(2), 229-236.

Farhadinia, M.S., Maheshwari, A., Nawaz, M.A., Ambarlı, H., Gritsina, M.A., Koshkin, M.A.,

... & Macdonald, D.W. 2019. Belt and Road Initiative may create new supplies for illegal wildlife trade in large carnivores. Nature ecology & evolution, 3(9), 1267-1268.

Feit, B., Gordon, C.E., Webb, J.K., Jessop, T.S., Laffan, S.W., Dempster, T., & Letnic, M. 2018. Invasive cane toads might initiate cascades of direct and indirect effects in a terrestrial ecosystem. Biological Invasions, 20(7), 1833–1847.

Home, C., Bhatnagar, Y. V., & Vanak, A. T. (2018). Canine Conundrum: domestic dogs as an invasive species and their impacts on wildlife in India. Animal Conservation, 21(4), 275-282.

IBM Corp. Released 2015. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 23.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Ikeda, T., Asano, M., Matoba, Y. & Abe, G. 2004. Present status of invasive alien raccoon and its impact in Japan. Global Environmental Research, 8, 125–131.

Letnic, M., Koch, F., Gordon, C., Crowther, M.S., & Dickman, C.R. 2009. Keystone effects of an alien top-predator stem extinctions of native mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1671), 3249–3256.

Lowe S, Browne M, Boudjelas S, De Poorter M. 2000. 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. A Selection from the Global Invasive Species Database. IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), Auckland, New Zealand.

Luque, G. M., Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Bonnaud, E., Genovesi, P., Simberloff, D., & Courchamp, F. 2014. The 100th of the world’s worst invasive alien species. Biological invasions, 16(5), 981-985.

Lymbery, A.J.; Morine, M.; Kanani, H.J.; Beatty, S.J. & Morgan, D.J. 2014. Co-invaders: The effects of alien parasites on native hosts. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife.

Macdonald, D.W., & Willis, K.J. (Eds.). 2013. Key topics in conservation biology 2. John Wiley & Sons.

McHugh, D., Goldingay, R.L., Link, J., and Letnic, M. 2019. Habitat and introduced predators influence the occupancy of small threatened macropods in subtropical Australia. Ecology and Evolution 9, 6300–6317.

Messing, R.H., & Wright, M.G. 2006. Biological control of invasive species: solution or pollution? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(3), 132–140.

Miller, K.K., Ritchie, E.G., & Weston, M.A. 2014. The human dimensions of dog-wildlife interactions. Free-ranging dogs and wildlife conservation, 286-301.

Moradi, N., Rastegar-Pouyani N. 2015. Biological aggression of the introduced red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta elegans (Wied, 1939) (Testudines: Emydidae) in Iran. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 22(2): 33 – 135.

Mooney, H.A., Mack, R., McNeely, J.A., McNeely, J. A., Neville, L.E., Schei, P.J., & Waage, J. K. (Eds.). 2005. Invasive alien species: a new synthesis (Vol. 63). Island press.

Nagasawa, M., Mitsui, S., En, S., Ohtani, N., Ohta, M., Sakuma, Y., ... & Kikusui, T.2015. Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds. Science, 348(6232), 333-336.

Naderi, M., Coban, E., Kusak, J., AYTEKİN, M. Ç. K., Chynoweth, M., Ağirkaya, İ. K., ... & SEKERCIOGLU, C. H. 2020. The first record of the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in Turkey. Turkish Journal of Zoology, 44(2), 209-213.

Nayeri, D., Mohammadi, A., Qashqaei, A. T., Vanak, A. T., & Gompper, M. E. 2022. Free-ranging dogs as a potential threat to Iranian mammals. Oryx, 56(3), 383-389.

Nanni V, Caprio E, Bombieri G, Schiaparelli S, Chiorri C, Mammola S, Pedrini P and Penteriani

V. 2020. Social Media and Large Carnivores: Sharing Biased News on Attacks on Humans.

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8:71. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00071

Pearson, S.H., Avery, H.W., & Spotila, J. R. 2015. Juvenile invasive red-eared slider turtles negatively impact the growth of native turtles: Implications for global freshwater turtle populations. Biological Conservation, 186, 115–121.

Rastegar-Pouyani N, Gholamifard A, Karamiani R, Bahmani Z, Mobaraki A, Abtin E, Faizi H, Heidari N, Takesh M, Sayyadi F, Ahsani N, Browne RK. 2015. Sustainable Management of the Herpetofauna of the Iranian Plateau and coastal Iran. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 9(1): 1-15.

Richardson, D.M. et al. 2000. Naturalization and invasion of alien plants concepts and definitions. Diversity and Distribution, 6, 93–108.

Sardari, P., Felfelian, F., Mohammadi, A., Nayeri, D., & Davis, E.O. 2022. Evidence on the role of social media in the illegal trade of Iranian wildlife. Conservation Science and Practice, e12725.

Safaei-Mahroo B., Ghaffari H., Fahimi H., Broomand S., Yazdanian M., Najafi Majd E., Hosseinian Yousefkhani S.S., Rezazadeh E., Hosseinzadeh M.S., Nasrabadi R., Rajabizadeh M., Mashayekhi M., Motesharei A., Naderi A., and Kazemi S.M. 2015. The Herpetofauna of Iran: Checklist of Taxonomy, Distribution and Conservation Status. Asian Herpetological Research. 6(4): 257–290.

Schlaepfer, M.A., Sherman, P.W., Blossey, B., & Runge, M.C. 2005. Introduced species as evolutionary traps. Ecology Letters, 8(3), 241–246.

Sharma, G.P., Esler, K.J., & Blignaut, J.N. 2010. Determining the relationship between invasive alien species density and a country's socio-economic status. South African Journal of Science, 106(3), 1-6.

Simberloff, D. 2010. Invasive Species. In: Sodhi NS, Ehrlich PR (eds) Conservation biology for all. 1 ed. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 131-148.

Simberloff, D., Von Holle, B. 1999. Positive Interactions of Nonindigenous Species: Invasional Meltdown. Biological Invasions, 1, 21–32.

Spear, D., Foxcroft, L.C., Bezuidenhout, H., & McGeoch, M.A. 2013. Human population density explains alien species richness in protected areas. Biological Conservation, 159, 137-147.

Statistical Centre of Iran, 2019, www.amar.org.ir

Woodward, S.L., Quinn, J.A. 2011. Encyclopedia of Invasive Species: From Africanized Honey Bees to Zebra Mussels. Volume 1: Animals Greenwood. Santa Barbara (California): ABC-CL




How to Cite

Rezaeian, A. ., Mohammadi, A., & Khanjani, M. H. . (2022). Uninvited guests: an overview of introduced vertebrate species in Iran. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 7(2), 69–81. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6634510