Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 327–342 | Cite as

Underlying impacts of invasive cats on islands: not only a question of predation

  • Félix M. Medina
  • Elsa Bonnaud
  • Eric Vidal
  • Manuel Nogales
Original Paper

Abstract

The domestic cat has been introduced on most islands worldwide, where it has established feral populations and is currently known to be one of the worst invasive mammalian predators. Predation is the strongest deleterious effect of cats on wildlife, inducing a direct negative impact on population size and dynamics, breeding success and changes in species assemblages. Direct predation is not the only damaging impact on native wildlife, since cats can be responsible for other poorly-documented underlying ecological impacts, like competition, hybridization, disease transmission, ecological process alteration, and behavioral change. Here, we pinpoint relevant examples of these ecological impacts, by searching for accurate data from published literature. We used electronic databases covering most of the world islands where the effects of cats were documented. Knowledge of these impacts can be of great importance to preserve insular ecosystem functions and persistence of endangered native species. We emphasize that direct predation processes should not be the only factor considered in the management of invasive cats on islands.

Keywords

Competition Diseases Ecological process disruption Felis silvestris catus Hybridization 

References

  1. Ashmole NP, Ashmole MJ, Simmons KEL (1994) Seabird conservation and feral cats on Ascension Island, South Atlantic. BirdLife Conserv Ser 1:94–121Google Scholar
  2. Baker PJ, Bentley AJ, Ansell RJ, Harris S (2005) Impact of predation by domestic cats Felis catus in an urban area. Mammal Rev 35:302–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beckerman AP, Boots M, Gaston KJ (2007) Urban bird declines and the fear of cats. Anim Conserv 10:320–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumstein DT, Daniel JC (2005) The loss of anti-predator behaviour following isolation on islands. Proc R Soc B 272:1663–1668PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonnaud E, Bourgeois K, Vidal E, Legrand J, Le Corre M (2009) How can the Yelkouan shearwater survive feral cat predation? A meta-population structure as a solution? Popul Ecol 51:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonnaud E, Zarzoso-Lacoste D, Bourgeois K, Ruffino L, Legrand J, Vidal E (2010) Top-predator control on islands boosts endemic prey but not mesopredator. Anim Conserv 13:556–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonnaud E, Medina FM, Vidal E, Nogales M, Tershy BR, Zavaleta E, Donlan CJ, Keitt B, Le Corre M, Horwath SV (2011) The diet of feral cats on islands: a review and a call for more studies. Biol Invasions 13:581–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bonnington C, Gaston KJ, Evans KL (2013) Fearing the feline: domestic cats reduce avian fecundity through trait-mediated indirect effects that increase nest predation by other species. J Appl Ecol 50:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bourgeois K, Vidal E, Suehs CM, Suehs CM, Médail F (2004) Extreme invasional meltdown: multiple-trophic interactions catalyse Mediterranean island invasions. In: Arianoutson M, Papanastasis VP (eds) MEDECOS ecology, conservation and management. Millpress Science Publisher, Rotterdam, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  10. Bramley GN, Waas JR, Henderson HV (2000) Responses of wild Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) to predator odors. J Chem Ecol 26:705–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapuis J-L, Le Roux V, Asseline J, Lefèvre L, Kerleau F (2001) Eradication of the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) by poisoning, on three islands of the subantarctic archipelago of Kerguelen. Wildl Res 28:323–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Courchamp F, Langlais M, Sugihara G (1999) Cats protecting birds: modeling the mesopredator release effect. J Anim Ecol 68:282–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Courchamp F, Langlais M, Sugihara G (2000a) Rabbits killing birds: modeling the hyperpredation process. J Anim Ecol 69:154–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Courchamp F, Say L, Pontier D (2000b) Transmission of Feline ImmunodeficiencyVirus in a population of cats (Felis catus). Wildl Res 27:603–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Courchamp F, Chapuis J-L, Pascal M (2003) Mammal invaders on islands: impact, control and control impact. Biol Rev 78:347–383PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cresswell W (2008) Non-lethal effects of predation in birds. Ibis 150:3–17Google Scholar
  17. Daniels MJ, Balharry D, Hirst D, Kitchener AC, Aspinall RJ (1998) Morphological and pelage characteristics of wild living cats in Scotland: implications for defining the ‘wildcat’. J Zool, Lond 244:231–247Google Scholar
  18. Daniels MJ, Golder MC, Jarrett O, Macdonald DW (1999) Feline viruses in wildcats from Scotland. J Wildl Dis 35:121–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Danner RM, Goltz DM, Hess SC, Banko PC (2007) Evidence of feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, and Toxoplasma gondii in feral cats on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. J Wildl Dis 43:315–318PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deem SL, Merkel J, Ballweber L, Vargas FH, Cruz MB, Parker PG (2010) Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and Flightless Cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. J Wildl Dis 46:1005–1011PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Delibes D, Blázquez MC (1998) Tameness of insular lizards and loss of biological diversity. Conserv Biol 12:1142–1143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dickman CR (1992) Predation and habitat shift in the house mouse, Mus domesticus. Ecology 73:313–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dickman CR (1996) Overview of the impacts of feral cats on Australian native fauna. Australian Nature Conservancy Agency/University of Sydney, Canberra/SydneyGoogle Scholar
  24. Dielenberg RA, McGregor IS (2001) Defensive behavior in rats towards predatory odors: a review. Neurosci Biobehav R 25:597–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dierschke V (2003) Predation hazard during migratory stopover: are light of heavy birds under risk? J Avian Biol 34:24–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Donlan CJ, Tershy BR, Keitt BS, Wood B, Sánchez JA, Weinstein A, Croll DA, Hermosillo MA, Aguilar JL (2000) Island conservation action in northwest Mexico. In: Browne DH, Chaney H, Mitchell K (eds). Proceedings of the fifth California Islands symposium. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, pp. 330–338Google Scholar
  27. Driscoll CA, Menotti-Raymond M, Roca AL, Hupe K, Johnson WE, Geffen E, Harley EH, Delibes M, Pontier D, Kitchener AC, Yamaguchi N, O′Brien SJ, Macdonald DW (2007) The near eastern origin of cat domestication. Science 317:519–523PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Duffy DC, Capece P (2012) Biology and impacts of Pacific island invasive species. 7. The domestic cat (Felis catus). Pac Sci 66:173–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Epstein JH, Rahman SA, Zambriski JA, Halpin K, Meehan G, amaluddin AA, Hassan SS, Field HE, Hyatt AD, Daszak P, The Henipavirus Ecology Research Group (2006) Feral cats and risk for Nipah Virus transmission. Emergy Infect Dis 12:1178–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Feare CJ (1984) Seabird status and conservation in the tropical Indian Ocean. In: Croxall JP, Evans PGH, Schreiber RW (eds) Status and conservation of the world seabirds. ICBP Technical Publications No. 2, Cambridge, pp 457–471Google Scholar
  31. Fitzgerald BM, Turner DC (2000) Hunting behaviour of domestic cats and their impact on prey populations. In: Turner DC, Bateson P (eds) The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 151–175Google Scholar
  32. Glen AS, Dickman CR (2005) Complex interactions among mammalian carnivores in Australia, and their implications for wildlife management. Biol Rev 80:387–401PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Glen AS, Dickman CR (2008) Niche overlap between marsupial and eutherian carnivores: does competition threaten the endangered spotted-tail quoll? J Appl Ecol 45:700–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Glen AS, de Tores PJ, Sutherland DR, Morris KD (2009) Interactions between chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii) and introduced predators: a review. Aust J Zool 57:347–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Glen SA, Berry O, Sutherland DR, Garretson S, Robinson T, de Tores PJ (2010) Forensic DNA confirms intraguild killing of a chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii) by a feral cat (Felis catus). Conserv Genet 11:1099–1101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Grantham HS, Wilson KA, Moilanen A, Rebelo T, Possingham HP (2009) Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: how long should we wait? Ecol Lett 12:293–301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hansson L (1988) The domestic cat as a possible modifier of vole dynamics. Mammalia 52:159–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Holt RD (1977) Predation, apparent competition, and the structure of prey communities. Theor Popul Biol 12:197–229PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Honnold SP, Braun R, Scott DP, Sreekumar C, Dubey JP (2005) Toxoplasmosis in a Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi). J Parasitol 91:695–697PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. IUCN (2012) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 21 Sep 2012
  41. Izawa M, Doi T, Ono Y et al (1991) Ecological study on the two species of Felidae in Japan. In: Maruyama N (ed) Wildlife conservation: present trends and perspectives for the 21st century. Japan Wildlife Research Centre, Yokohama, pp 141–144Google Scholar
  42. Kitchener AC (1991) The natural history of the wild cats. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  43. Kitchener AC, Yamaguchi N, Ward JM, Macdonald DW (2005) A diagnosis for the Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris): a tool for conservation action for a critically-endangered felid. Anim Conserv 8:223–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Krebs JR, Davies NB (1993) An introduction to behavioural ecology. Blackwell Science Ltd., OxfordGoogle Scholar
  45. Lank DB, Ydengerg RC (2003) Death and danger at migratory stopovers: problems with “predation risk”. J Avian Biol 34:225–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Li B (2012) Effects of feral cats on the evolution of antipredator behaviors in the Aegean wall lizard Podarcis erhardii. Master of Science. University of Michigan, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  47. Liberg O, Sandell M, Pontier D, Natoli E (2000) Density, spatial organisation and reproductive tactics in the domestic cat and other felids. In: Turner DC, Bateson P (eds) The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 119–148Google Scholar
  48. Lima SL (1998) Nonlethal effects in the ecology of predator-prey interactions. Bioscience 48:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Macdonald DW, Yamaguchi N, Kerby G (2000) Group-living in the domestic cat: its socio-biology and epidemiology. In: Turner DC, Bateson P (eds) The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 95–118Google Scholar
  50. Marks JS, Redmond RL (1994) Conservation problems and research needs for Bristle-thighed Curlews Numenius tahitiensis on their wintering grounds. Bird Conserv Int 4:329–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Markula A, Hanna-Jones M, Csurhes S (2009) Pest animal risk assessment, serval hybrids: hybrids of Leptailurus serval (serval) and Felis catus (domestic cat), including the `savannah cat′. Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland Government, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  52. Massaro M, Starling-Windhof A, Briskie JV, Martin TE (2008) Introduced mammalian predators induce behavioural changes in parental care in an endemic New Zealand bird. PLoS ONE 3:e2331PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Medina FM, Nogales M (2007) Habitat use of feral cats in the main environments of an Atlantic Island (La Palma, Canary Islands). Folia Zool 56:277–283Google Scholar
  54. Medina FM, Nogales M (2009) A review on the impacts of feral cats (Felis silvestris catus) in the Canary Islands: implications for the conservation of its endangered fauna. Biodivers Conserv 18:829–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Medina FM, Bonnaud E, Vidal E, Tershy BR, Zavaleta ES, Donlan CJ, Keitt BS, Le Corre M, Horwath SV, Nogales M (2011) A global review of the impacts of invasive cats on island endangered vertebrates. Global Change Biol 17:3503–3510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mella VS, Cooper CE, Davies SJJF (2010) Ventilatory frequency as a measure of the response of tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) to the odour of potential predators. Austr J Zool 58:16–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Murayama A (2008) The Tsushima cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilura): population viability analysis and conservation strategies. MSc Thesis. Imperial College London, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  58. Nishimura Y, Goto Y, Yoneda K, Endo Y, Mizuno T, Kamachi M, Maruyama H, Kinoshita H, Koga S, Komori M, Fushuku S, Ushinohama K, Akuzawa M, Watari T, Hasegawa A, Tsujimoto H (1999) Interspecies transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus from the domestic cat to the Tsushima cat (Felis bengalensis euptilura) in the wild. J Virol 73:7912–7916Google Scholar
  59. Nogales M, Medina FM, Valido A (1996) Indirect seed dispersal by the feral cats Felis catus in island ecosystems (Canary Islands). Ecography 19:3–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nogales M, Martín A, Tershie BR, Donlan CJ, Veitch D, Puerta N, Wood B, Alonso J (2004) A review of feral cat eradication on islands. Conserv Biol 18:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parker IM, Simberloff D, Lonsdale WM, Goodell K, Wonham M, Kareiva PM, Williamson MH, Von Holle B, Moyle PB, Byers JE, Goldwasser L (1999) Impact: toward a framework for understanding the ecological effects of invaders. Biol Invasions 1:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pavey CR, Eldridge SR, Heywood M (2008) Population dynamics and prey selection of native and introduced predators during a rodent outbreak in arid Australia. J Mammal 89:647–683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Phillips RB, Winchell CS, Schmidt RH (2007) Dietary overlap of an alien and native carnivore on San Clemente Island, California. J Mammal 88:173–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Pletschet SM, Kelly JF (1990) Breeding biology and nesting success of palila. Condor 92:1012–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Potter C (ed) (1991) The impact of cats on native wildlife. ANPWS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  66. Riera N, Traveset A, García O (2002) Breakage of mutualism by exotic species: the case of Cneorum tricoccon L. in the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean Sea). J Biogeogr 29:713–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Robertson SA (2008) A review of feral cat control. J Feline Med Surg 10:366–375PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rodríguez-Estrella R, Arnaud G, Álvarez-Cárdenas S, Rodríguez A (1991) Predation by feral cats on birds at Isla Socorro, Mexico. Western Birds 22:141–143Google Scholar
  69. Russell JC, Le Corre M (2009) Introduced mammal impacts on seabirds in the Îles Éparses, Western Indian Ocean. Marine Ornithol 37:121–128Google Scholar
  70. Sih A, Bolnick DI, Luttbeg B, Orrock JL, Peacor SD, Pintor LM, Preisser E, Rehage J, Vonesh JR (2010) Predator-prey naivete, antipredator behavior, and the ecology of predator invasions. Oikos 119:610–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sims V, Evans KL, Newson SE, Tratalos JA, Gaston KJ (2008) Avian assemblage structure and domestic cat densities in urban environments. Divers Distrib 14:387–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. St Clair JJH, García-Peña GE, Woods RW, Székely T (2010) Presence of mammalian predators decreases tolerance to human disturbance in a breeding shorebird. Behav Ecol 21:1285–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stone PA, Snell HL, Snell HM (1994) Behavioral diversity as biological diversity: introduced cats and lava lizard wariness. Conserv Biol 8:569–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Traveset A, Riera N (2005) Disruption of a plant-lizard seed dispersal system and its ecological effects on a threatened endemic plant in the Balearic Islands. Conserv Biol 19:421–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Traveset A, Richardson DM (2011) Mutualisms: key drivers of invasions … key casualties of invasions. In: Richardson DM (ed) Fifty years of invasions ecology: the legacy of Charles Elton, 1st edn. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp 143–160Google Scholar
  76. Valido A (1999) Ecología de la dispersión de semillas por los lagartos endémicos canarios (g. Gallotia, Lacertidae). PhD Thesis. Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, SpainGoogle Scholar
  77. Van Rensburg PJJ, Bester MN (1988) The effect of cat Felis catus predation on three breeding Procellaridae species on Marion Island. S Afr J Zool 23:301–305Google Scholar
  78. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 227:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Watanabe S, Nakanishi N, Izawa M (2003) Habitat and prey resource overlap between the Iriomote cat Prionailurus iriomotensis and introduced feral cat Felis catus based on assessment of scat content and distribution. Mammal Study 28:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wiseman R, O′Ryan C, Harley EH (2000) Microsatellite analysis reveals that domestic cat (Felis catus) and southern African wild cat (Felis lybica) are genetically distinct. Anim Conserv 3:221–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Woods M, McDonald RA, Harris S (2003) Predation of wildlife by domestic cats Felis catus in Great Britain. Mammal Rev 33:174–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wootton JT (1994) The nature and consequences of indirect effects in ecological communities. Annu Rev Ecol Systemat 25:443–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Work TM, Massey JG, Rideout BA, Gardiner CH, Ledig DB, Kwok OCH, Dubey JP (2000) Fatal toxoplasmosis in free-ranging endangered ′alala from Hawaii. J Wildl Dis 36:205–212PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Work TM, Massey JG, Lindsay DS, Dubey JP (2002) Toxoplasmosis in three species of native and introduced Hawaiian birds. J Parasitol 85:1040–1042Google Scholar
  85. Yamaguchi N, Kitchener AC, Driscoll CA, Ward JM, Macdonald DW (2004) Craniological differentiation amongst wild-living cats in Britain and southern Africa: natural variation or the effects of hybridisation? Anim Conserv 7:339–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zanette LY, White AF, Allen MC, Clinchy M (2011) Perceived predation risk reduces the number of offspring songbirds produce per year. Science 334:1398–1401PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zarzoso-Lacoste D (2013) Vers une meilleure comprehension des interactions directes et indirectes entre predateurs invasifs et espèces natives au sein des ecosystèmes insulaires. PhD Thesis, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, FranceGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Félix M. Medina
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elsa Bonnaud
    • 2
  • Eric Vidal
    • 3
  • Manuel Nogales
    • 4
  1. 1.Servicio de Medio AmbienteCabildo Insular de La PalmaSanta Cruz de La PalmaSpain
  2. 2.Ecologie, Systématique and EvolutionUMR CNRS 8079 Univ. Paris SudOrsayFrance
  3. 3.IMBE, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et ContinentaleAMU/CNRS/IRD/UAPV/Aix-Marseille UniversitéNoumea cedexNew-Caledonia
  4. 4.Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC)La LagunaSpain

Personalised recommendations