Nutria (. Myocastor coypus) is a native aquatic rodent to South America, and was introduced to Europe, Asia, Africa and North America for fur farming. The South American nutria or coypu is now considered a pest in the area of introduction, because of its negative impact on biological diversity and ecological relationships. Having information on the invasion range of exotic species is crucial for understanding the ecology of invasive spread and for making good conservation and management planning to address this problem. At the beginning of the 20th century, nutria was introduced into Asia. Nutria was recorded for the first time in Iran in 1995. In the present study we proposed a multiple spatial scale approach to predict the invasion trends of the nutria in Iran, and to define up the "suitable scale" for predicting the invasion trends of this species. Our results highlighted the importance of environmental variables including vegetation density (for food and nesting) and water resource (streams, rivers, and lakes) in distribution of the nutria. Potential areas for the presence of the nutria are located near the Caspian Sea, west and central Iran which receive more precipitation than other parts of the country. Therefore, these parts of Iran may face a much greater risk of invasion risk in the future. Moreover, these results can show the possible risk of nutria invasion to the northern and western neighbors of Iran.
- Biological invasion
- Environmental variables
- Species distribution modeling