"An American near Rome" ... and not only! Presence of the eastern cottontail in Central Italy and potential impacts on the endemic and vulnerable Apennine hare.
The eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus has been introduced to Italy for hunting purposes since the 1960s. This species is currently present in northern Italy, with some small populations in Central Italy. Data for Central Italy are scanty, but they deserve research attention because this lagomorph is responsible for the spread of disease to an endemic vulnerable species, the Apennine hare Lepus corsicanus. In this work, we summarized the distribution of alien cottontails, over 50 years after their first releases, with special regard to areas where the endemic species is present. Eradication should be recommended where the alien species coexists with the endemic one.