Small Indian Mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus (Herpestidae, Carnivora): an invasive species in Montenegro
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Since its first appearance in the second half of the 1980s, the Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) has spread along the entire coastline of Montenegro, from the Croatian border in the north to the Albanian border in the south. Its present range includes an area of 447.3 km(2) and is limited to the narrow coastal zone up to 300 m above sea level. The distribution of this species generally corresponds to the thick Mediterranean maquis and garigue vegetation. The Small Indian Mongoose spread to the territory of Montenegro through natural immigration from neighboring Croatia, where it was introduced in the past. The southward expansion along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea has increased the previously known European range by about 150 km in the last 20 years. The appearance of this species in the "Adriatic triangle", one of the most important European centers herpetofauna diversity, could lead to catastrophic consequences for this fauna.