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Nutria
(Coypu)
(Myocastor coypus)

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Invasive Status
Invasive Population increasing
Natural Range
  • Southern South America
Introduced Range
  • Northern North America
  • Cetral Asia
  • Middle East
  • East Africa
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
Pathways
Fur trade
Impacts

Ingestion of native plants

Restructuring of wetlands

Ingestion of and damage to crops

Removal Methods

Hunting

Trapping

Bans on importation

The nutria (Myocastor coypus), also called the coypu, is a South American rodent related to beavers and cavies.

RangeEdit

Native RangeEdit

The nutria is native to the southern half of South America. It can be found throughout Argentina, Uraguay and Paraguay, as well as almost all of Chile (the nutira isn't present in extreme-north Chile), extreme-south-east Brazil and much of southern Bolivia. [1]

Introduced RangeEdit

North AmericaEdit

The nutria has been found in the Canadian states of British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. [2]

It can also be found in 15 of the United States of America: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. [2] Populations are most widespread along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, eastern USA and the north-west. [3]

AsiaEdit

To the east, the nutria has been introduced to South Korea (RoK), Japan (south-east Honshu [4]) and Thailand. [2]

In Central Asia, the nutria is present in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. [2]

In west Asia, nutrias have become established in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Israel and Jordan. [2]

AfricaEdit

Within Africa, the nutria has been confirmed present in Kenya and Tanzania. [2]

EuropeEdit

The nutria is present in Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. [5] It may also be present in Spain. [2]

Pathways and IntroductionEdit

The nutria is normally imported to countries for fur farming. [2]

It was first introduced to the United States of America in the 1930s. [6]

The nutria's first establishment outside of it's native range was probably in France in 1882. The nutria was first brought from Belgium in the 1930s and escapees have since established populations. Wild colonies first appeared in Germany in 1935 after they first arrived in 1926. They were first reported in greece between 1948 and 1966. In Italy, nutria were first reported wild in 1960. In the Netherlands, they had become established in the wild by 1940. Nutria have been established in Poland since 1948. The first reports of nutria in Romania occurred in 1989. Small populations are present in northern Spain close to France, from which the nutria are believed to have migrated. This population has been present since 2003. Nutria have been present in Switzerland since at least 1999. [5]

50 nutria were imported into Japan in 1939 from France. It is thought many nutria were released or escaped after World War 2 and in the 1950s after demand for fur fell. [4]

ImpactsEdit

Nutria devour and damage reedbeds and other aquatic plants (salt marhses are often effected most severely^^^).This results in a loss of habitat for native species, as well as directly reducing the populations of the native aquatic plants. [4]

Additionally, nutria burrows result in structural damage to riverbanks. [2]

Coypu also eat crops such as sugarcane, alfalfa and root crops. [2/4]

Control and Removal MethodsEdit

Shooting and trapping are used to control and reduce nutria populations. [2] Import of nutria is also banned in some countries. [4]

The nutria was successfully eradicated from the United Kingdom over the course of 8 years from 1981 to 1989. [5]

SourcesEdit

1 National Geographic

2 Invasive Species Compendium

3 United States Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

4 National (Japan) Institute for Environmental Studies Invasive Species of Japan

5 United States Geological Survey National (US) Wetlands Research Center

6 United States Department of Agriculture National (US) Agriculture Library

7 Maryland Department of Natural Resources