Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Cacoecimorpha pronubana
(carnation tortrix)



Cacoecimorpha pronubana (carnation tortrix)


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Cacoecimorpha pronubana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • carnation tortrix
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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TitleMature larva, on strawberry leaf
CopyrightD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
Mature larva, on strawberry leafD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
TitleEgg mass on leaf
CopyrightD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
Egg mass on leafD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
TitleEmpty pupal case, post adult emergence
CopyrightD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
Empty pupal case, post adult emergenceD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
TitleAdult moth
CopyrightD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum
Adult mothD.J. Carter/Natural History Museum


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Cacoecimorpha pronubana Hübner

Preferred Common Name

  • carnation tortrix

Other Scientific Names

  • Cacoecia pronubana Hübner
  • Cacoecimorpha ambustana Hübner
  • Cacoecimorpha hermineana Duponchel
  • Cacoecimorpha insolatana Lucas
  • Tortrix pronubana Hübner

International Common Names

  • English: carnation tortrix moth; European carnation tortrix; Mediteranean carnation tortrix; Mediterranean carnation leafroller
  • Spanish: minador (gusano) del clavel; piral de los claveles; tortrix del clavel
  • French: tordeuse méditerranéene de l'oeillet

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: nellikevikler
  • Germany: Mittelmeernelkenwickler; Wickler, Nelken-
  • Italy: tortrice dei garofani
  • Norway: nellikvikler
  • Sweden: nejlikvecklare

EPPO code

  • TORTPR (Cacoecimorpha pronubana)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Tortricidae
  •                             Genus: Cacoecimorpha
  •                                 Species: Cacoecimorpha pronubana


Top of page Eggs

Laid in mucilage-covered groups of 10-200, initially light-green, becoming yellow; oval to round, flattened and scale-like, 1 mm x 0.6 mm, with a reticulate chorion.


The larva is illustrated in detail by Carter (1984).

Initially yellow with a black head which becomes brown in the 2nd instar. In the last (7th) instar, which attains 20 mm in length, the head is brownish-yellow with variable dark spots. The prothorax is a greenish-yellow with four dark spots on the posterior margin. The abdomen is yellow, olive green or grey-brown, depending on diet.

For more information see Pandolfo and Zagami (1983) and van de Vrie (1991).


Initially brown, becoming almost black. The cremaster has four pairs of hooks. In addition to two rows of dorsal spines, the abdominal segments possess numerous yellow bristles.


Wingspan 15-17 mm in males, 18-24 mm in females, forewings rectangular, yellowish-brown to purplish-brown in colour with two (in males, one in females) narrow, darker, obliquely transverse bands. Hindwings orange with dark-brown edges. Colour tones vary widely between individuals, females being generally lighter than males.


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C. pronubana is indigenous to the Mediterranean region.

C. pronubana was previously considered a quarantine pest for Israel (D Opatowski, Plant Protection and Inspection Services (PPIS), Israel, personal communication, April, 2006). Records of presence (e.g. Bodenheimer, 1937 cited in Wysoki and Izhar, 1976; Wysoki, 1989; Swirski and Wysoki, 1995) were thought to be based on a misidentification. However, the pest found on avocados in Israel has now been identified as C. pronubana, confirming its presence in the country (D Opatowski, Plant Protection and Inspection Services (PPIS), Israel, personal communication, December, 2006).

A record of C. pronubana in Japan (Carter, 1984) published in previous versions of the Compendium is erroneous. Carter (1984) quotes CIE (1975) in his description of C. pronubana but there is no record of this species in Japan in CIE (1975) or CABI/EPPO (2014) and C. pronubana is not mentioned in A Guide to the Lepidoptera of Japan (Komai et al., 2011).

See also CABI/EPPO (1998, No. 37).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


AlgeriaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
LibyaPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
MoroccoPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
South AfricaPresent, Few occurrencesCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
TunisiaPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)


AzerbaijanPresentMaharramova (2011); CABI and EPPO (2014)
IsraelPresentWysoki (1989); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
JapanAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)Carter (1984)
KazakhstanAbsent, Confirmed absent by surveyEPPO (2020)
TurkeyPresent, LocalizedKaçar and Ulusoy (2008); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
UzbekistanAbsentEPPO (2020)


AlbaniaPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
AustriaAbsent, Intercepted onlyEPPO (2020)
BelgiumPresent, WidespreadKarsholt and Razowski (1996); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
BulgariaAbsent, Confirmed absent by surveyEPPO (2020)
CroatiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
CyprusPresentCABI and EPPO (2014)
CzechiaAbsentEPPO (2020)
DenmarkPresent, Few occurrencesEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
EstoniaAbsentEPPO (2020)
FinlandAbsent, Intercepted onlyEPPO (2020)
FrancePresent, WidespreadCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-CorsicaPresent, WidespreadKarsholt and Razowski (1996); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
GermanyPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
GreecePresentEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
-CretePresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
GuernseyPresent, WidespreadEPPO (2020)
HungaryPresent, Few occurrencesCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
IrelandPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
ItalyPresent, WidespreadCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-SardiniaPresentKarsholt and Razowski (1996); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-SicilyPresentKarsholt and Razowski (1996); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
LatviaAbsentEPPO (2020)
LithuaniaPresent, Few occurrencesCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
LuxembourgPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
MaltaPresent, WidespreadCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
NetherlandsPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
NorwayAbsentEPPO (2020)
PolandAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020)
PortugalPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-MadeiraPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
RomaniaPresent, Few occurrencesKarsholt and Razowski (1996); CABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
RussiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
SerbiaPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
SlovakiaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020)
SloveniaPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
SpainPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-Balearic IslandsPresentCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
SwedenPresent, Few occurrencesCABI and EPPO (2014)
SwitzerlandPresent, WidespreadCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
UkraineAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020)
United KingdomPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-Channel IslandsPresentEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)
-EnglandPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-ScotlandPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014)

North America

United StatesPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-CaliforniaPresent, Few occurrencesEPPO (2020)
-OregonPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-WashingtonPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI and EPPO (2014)

Risk of Introduction

Top of page C. pronubana is an A2 quarantine pest for EPPO (OEPP/EPPO, 1980) and the SADC region and is also of quarantine significance for JUNAC. Experiments in Germany indicate that the insect is unlikely, if introduced, to become established in the field in countries to the east and north of the January +2°C isotherm (Herfs, 1963). This means practically that the insect has reached the limits of its natural range. However, C. pronubana is a threat to glasshouse crops, especially carnations and other flowers and ornamental plants. For more information, see Balachowsky (1966).

Habitat List

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Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page Over 100 plant species have been noted as hosts, however Dianthus is the most seriously affected, although other species have suffered infestations regarded as serious.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page On carnation cuttings

Terminal and axial leaves and buds are enclosed in silk and eaten, becoming typically crooked; this is usually more serious in spring.

On carnation flowers

The buds are penetrated by the larvae; petals may be joined by larval silk, thus hampering opening and giving flowers a characteristic swollen appearance. In some cases, it may not be apparent that flowers are infested.

On citrus

Foliage attack is similar to that described for carnations, with typical crooked growth (Delucchi and Merle, 1962). Young stems may be mined. On fruit, there are two types of damage. In April to July, the larvae penetrate the young developing fruit, feeding superficially on the skin at the peduncle base. The larvae then move up the fruit and continue to consume the skin while protected by leaves which they have spun together with silk. The pulp is never attacked and the damaged mesocarp quickly suberizes. This results in light-brown to blackish patches on the fruit surface, reducing marketability. The second type of damage is that on ripe fruit, attacked in October to November; the calyx end is not usually affected, and damaged areas do not suberize, so favouring the development of rots.

For more information, see Targe and Deportes (1961) and Balachowsky (1966).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Inflorescence / twisting and distortion
Inflorescence / webbing
Leaves / leaves rolled or folded

Biology and Ecology

Top of page In northern areas of its distribution (the UK), C. pronubana overwinters as first or mainly second generation larvae, on plants in the glasshouse or open air. Mortality among these larvae may be as high as 70-90% in winter, since they cannot survive low temperatures and are injured by rain. These larvae mature from the end of March to May, the pupal stage lasting 10-45 days, and adults emerge in April; they fly and deposit eggs until June. First generation larvae emerge and feed from April to August. Pupation takes 15-17 days and second generation imagoes appear from mid-August and fly until the end of September or beginning of October, some individuals hatching up until November if conditions (food and temperature) are favourable. Following a very warm season, a third generation may develop in the autumn on evergreen plants.

In southern areas (Spain, Italy), four generations are the rule; third and fourth generation larvae overwinter, those in glasshouses (with minimum temperature 8°C, for example, for carnations) emerging around April, about 15 days earlier than those on crops in the open air. In North Africa, on citrus, there are at least five, and probably six, generations annually.

In glasshouses (with minimum temperature 15°C, for example, for roses), more than five generations may develop each year, and all stages of the insect may be found between spring and autumn, although in the south of France the periods of egg laying and appearance of first generation adults never overlap. Adults are chiefly day-flying, especially in morning sunshine.

Imagoes usually hatch at night and copulation, lasting 1-2 h, takes place immediately. The large-bodied females cannot fly easily and only males are normally active. Egg laying occurs in batches, beginning 3-4 h after copulation, and is spaced out over several days. Eggs are laid on smooth surfaces, especially glass, the first batch, usually of 150-250 eggs, being the most important. Each female can lay up to 700 eggs (average 430).

Eggs hatch after 6-22 days (van de Vrie, 1991). The larvae emerge within a few seconds and, being positively phototactic, quickly move or are carried in wind to the young growing points or flowers. Here, they spin silk around two to three terminal leaves or petals, and feed on the upper surface, so making numerous holes; the parenchyma may be mined. By the end of the third larval instar, the whole leaf is attacked and surrounded by a dense silken mass.

Hatching to pupation (seven larval instars) takes 19-70 days, and pupation itself 4-30 days (van de Vrie, 1991). Longevity of imagoes is about 11-12 days for females and 14-18 for males. Temperature thresholds for copulation, egg laying and hatching are 10.5, 12-13 and 14°C, respectively. Pupae cannot survive 2 h at -4°C, and are therefore of no importance in overwintering. At average temperatures of 15 and 30°C, the complete life cycle takes 123-147 and 28-44 days, respectively. Humidity is an important factor with respect to mortality; larvae can develop at 10-15% RH; 70-90% RH (van de Vrie, 1991) is optimum but, above 90% RH, larval and pupal mortality is increased. For more information, see Fisher (1924), Bestango (1955), Balachowsky (1966).

Means of movement/dispersal

The adults can disperse themselves locally. In international trade, C. pronubana may be carried on plants for planting or cut flowers of carnations, chrysanthemums, pelargoniums, roses and other host plants.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Actia pilipennis Parasite Larvae
Apanteles xanthostigma Parasite Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen
Bassus rufipes Parasite Larvae
Brachymeria tibialis Parasite Larvae
Colpoclypeus florus Parasite Larvae
Elachertus affinis Parasite Larvae
Elachertus lateralis Parasite Larvae
Itoplectis europeator Parasite Larvae
Itoplectis maculator Parasite Larvae
Macrocentrus rossemi Parasite Larvae
Microgaster Parasite Larvae
Nemorilla maculosa Parasite Larvae
Pediobius pyrgo Parasite Larvae
Phaeogenes fuscicornis Parasite Larvae
Pholetesor laetus Parasite Larvae
Pseudoperichaeta nigrolineata Parasite Larvae
Trichogramma evanescens Parasite Eggs

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


Top of page In spite of the polyphagous nature of this insect, serious damage is confined mainly to carnation crops in the Mediterranean area, where losses have been reported since the 1920s. In France, around Nice, 25-35% of carnations were affected in 1972-1973, and losses in consignments for export were valued at about 100,000 F. In Morocco, C. pronubana was first found in 1933, on citrus, but it was not until 20 years later that it developed into a widespread pest on this crop, the larvae destroying foliage and damaging fruit. In Algeria, it is found mainly on lemons, but is not considered a serious pest. In Italy (Sicily) surveys reported C. pronubana mainly on olives, weeds and roses but not on lemons (Inserra et al., 1987; Siscaro et al., 1988). In northern countries (for example, Poland), C. pronubana is important in glasshouses.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page It may be difficult to differentiate C. pronubana eggs and larvae from those of Epichoristodes acerbella (EPPO/CABI, 1996), but adults of the latter have distinctive greyish-white hindwings.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Control of C. pronubana can be achieved by using pyrethroids such as deltamethrin and fenvalerate (Pandolfo and Zagami, 1983; Inserra et al., 1987). Control of C. pronubana by biological means has not been fully investigated. Monitoring of C. pronubana populations is carried out by sex pheromone traps, but their use as a direct control agent by means of mating disruption is still being questioned (Guda and Capizzi, 1988).

Burgess and Jarret (1978) studied the effect of Bacillus thuringiensis on C. pronubana in glasshouses but found that a higher than normal dose was necessary for effectiveness. Wysoki (1989) tested its effect in Israel where the moth is a pest of avocados. Pheremones have been used extensively for monitoring populations, details are given in Quaglia (1993).

EPPO recommends (OEPP/EPPO, 1990) that, in countries where C. pronubana occurs, nursery inspections should be carried out during the growing season prior to dispatch.

Baraldi (1996) stated that experimental research on the use of direct ionizing radiation (radiodisinfestation) to control insect pests on cut flowers has given promising results.


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===, 1980. Data sheets on quarantine organisms. Set 3. EPPO Bulletin, 10(1). unnumbered.

Baraldi D, 1996. Irraggiamento di prodotti floricoli da esportazione. Informatore Fitopatologico, 46 (5):20-24.

Bestango G, 1955. [Biological observations and experience of control of Cacoecia pronubana in 1954]. Rivista della Ortoflorofrutticoltura Italiana, 39:439-454.

Bodenheimer FS, 1937. Prodromus Faunae Palaestinae. Mém. Inst. d'Egypte, 33:98.

Burges HD, Jarrett P, 1978. Caterpillar control with Bacillus thuringiensis. Grower, 90 (13):589-590, 593-595.

CABI/EPPO, 1998. Distribution maps of quarantine pests for Europe (edited by Smith IM, Charles LMF). Wallingford, UK: CAB International, xviii + 768 pp.

CABI/EPPO, 2014. Cacoecimorpha pronubana. [Distribution map]. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, No.June. Wallingford, UK: CABI, Map 340 (1st revision).

Carter DJ, 1984. Pest Lepidoptera of Europe with special reference to the British Isles. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dr. W. Junk.

CIE, 1975. Cacoecimorpha pronubana. [Distribution map]., Distribution Maps of Plant Pests:Map 340

Delucchi VL, Merle L, 1962. La tordeuse de l'oeillet Cacoecia pronubana Hübner Lepidoptera, Tortricidae ravageur peu connu des agrumes au Maroc. Al Awamia, 3:79-86.

EPPO, 1990. Specific quarantine requirements. EPPO Technical Documents, No. 1008. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Fisher RC, 1924. The life-history and habits of Tortrix pronubana Hb. with special reference to the larval and pupal stages. Annals of Applied Biology, 11:395-447.

Guda CD, Capizzi A, 1988. Pheromones and their use in integrated control in floriculture. Colture Protette, 17(8):97-100

Herfs W, 1963. [Open-air experiments on climate resistance of Tortrix pronubana in relation to its possible survival in Germany. II. Trials on climate resistance and assessment of establishment potential]. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 52:1-38.

Inserra S, Calabretta C, Garzia GT, 1987. Attack by Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hbn.) on protected crops of gerbera and rose and possibilities of chemical and biological control. Difesa delle Piante, 10(1):97-100; [In Convegno 'La difesa delle colture ornamentali e da fiore']; 2 ref.

Kaçar G, Ulusoy MR, 2008. A new pest of olive trees: Carnation tortrix, Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hübner), 1796-1799 (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region of Turkey. (Dogu Akdeniz Bölgesi'nde yeni bir zeytin zararlisi Karanfil yaprakbükeni, Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hübner), 1796-1799 (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).) Türkiye Entomoloji Dergisi, 32(3):211-223.

Karsholt O, Razowski J, 1996. The Lepidoptera of Europe: a distributional checklist. Stenstrup, Denmark: Apollo Books, 380 pp.

Komai, F., Yoshiyasu, Y., Nasu, Y., Saito, T., 2011. A Guide to the Lepidoptera of Japan, Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 65(3):203-204

Maharramova S, 2011. Characterization of leaf-rollers attacking forest and fruit trees in Azerbaijan (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Beiträge zur Entomologie, 61(1):223-238.

Pandolfo FM, Zagami G, 1983. Carnation tortricids. Informatore Fitopatologico, 33(12):19-26

Quaglia F, 1993. Populations dynamics of tortricids (Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hb.) and Epichoristodes acerbella (Walk.)) on ornamentals, with special reference to the potential use of sex-pheromones for monitoring, mass-trapping and mating disruption. Frustula Entomologica, 16:1-7; 7 ref.

Siscaro G, Longo S, Ragusa S, 1988. Notes on population dynamics of Archips rosanus (L.) and Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hb.) in Sicilian citrus groves. Bulletin SROP, 11(6):32-38

Smith IM, McNamara DG, Scott PR, Holderness M, 1997. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization., Ed. 2:vii + 1425 pp.; many ref.

Swirski E, Wysoki M, 1995. Avocado pests in Israel. In: Proceedings of the World Avocado Congress III, 419-428.

Van de Vrie M, 1991. Tortricids in ornamental crops in greenhouses. In: van der Geest, Evenhuis, eds. Tortricoid Pests, their biology, natural enemies and control. World Crop Pests: Volume 5:525-530.

Wysoki M, 1989. Bacillus thuringiensis preparations as a means for the control of lepidopterous avocado pests in Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology, 23:119-129; 53 ref.

Wysoki M, Izhar Y, 1976. The carnation leaf-roller Cacoecimorpha (Cacoecia) pronubana Huebner (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae) on avocado trees in Israel. California Avocado Society 1976 Yearbook, 60:92-95.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

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