Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 1719–1733

Eradications as reverse invasions: lessons from Pacific rat (Rattus exulans) removals on New Zealand islands

Invasive Rodents on Islands

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-008-9399-7

Cite this article as:
Towns, D.R. Biol Invasions (2009) 11: 1719. doi:10.1007/s10530-008-9399-7


Eradications of kiore or Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) from islands around New Zealand have been followed by responses from resident species of coastal plants, invertebrates, reptiles and seabirds. These responses are compared with an invasion by ship rats (Rattus rattus), which devastated populations of invertebrates, birds and bats. Post-eradication responses only approximate the effects of invasions because recovery is limited to the residual pool of native species. Greater effects of kiore are indicated by adding incompatible species confined to rat-free locations. The extended list includes at least 15 species of invertebrates, two species of frogs, tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), 11 species of lizards and 9 species of seabirds. The analyses indicate direct and indirect effects of kiore similar to those reported after ship rat invasions. This is despite indications from the literature that kiore are the least damaging of the three commensal rat species.


Invasion Ship rats (Rattus rattusDirect and indirect effects Fruit and seed predation Honey dew scale Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatusBurrowing seabirds 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research & Development Group, Department of ConservationNewton, AucklandNew Zealand

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