A revised account of initial mute swan (Cygnus olor) introductions to the northeastern United States


The success or failure of species introductions is linked to their location, date, size, and frequency. However, reliance on synthetic works to identify and quantify these factors can lead to errors if original sources are misinterpreted or misquoted. Furthermore, information cannot be verified if authors fail to cite their sources and repetition may lead to compounded errors that have implications for studies of invasion patterns and processes. Naturalized populations of mute swans (Cygnus olor) in the Atlantic Flyway, for example, are repeatedly attributed to two large introductions in New York State. Tracing this belief back to original reports and using additional historical records, this inquiry investigates the first introductions of mute swans in New York State and presents evidence for three initial sites. Newspapers are also recommended as a newly searchable archive of species introduction records.

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I would like to thank K. Jacob Ruppert for insight into his family history, and Danny Kunches and Dr. Jonathan Davies for retrieving material from distant libraries.

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Correspondence to Chelsea L. Teale.

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Teale, C.L. A revised account of initial mute swan (Cygnus olor) introductions to the northeastern United States. Biol Invasions 13, 1729–1733 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-011-0007-x

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  • Mute swan
  • Historical records
  • Newspapers
  • Propagule pressure
  • Introduction effort