In 2022, the Luxembourg Nature and Forestry Administration published a poster to help differentiate between the Asian Black Hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) and the Native Hornet (Vespa crabro).
Since 2021-07-14, an alert system concerning iNaturalist neobiota observations from Luxembourg has been operational. Paul Braun, digital curator at the Luxembourg National Museum of Natural History, has implemented a Python code executed every day at 12:00 CET (= 13:00 local time) which sends an email alert message to key persons in charge of neobiota early detection and surveillance in Luxembourg. Independently from their quality grade, all observations since the day before 00:00 CET until the current day 12:00 CET are compiled and sent to , and thereafter dispatched to a selection of key persons. We chose 12:00 CET to enable a rapid response in case of observations of important species occur on the current morning. Unfortunately, the iNaturalist API does not give the option to choose precise periods for data extraction, which results in an overlap of the periods covered by the alert messages.
Recommendations to iNaturalist: it would be useful to implement the following in future versions of the API:
Example of an iNaturalist alert message
An alert system for neobiota observations recorded in the national database on natural heritage Recorder-Lux has been operational since 2019. It triggers an alarm message as soon as an observation is entered in data.mnhn.lu or uploaded to the Recorder-Lux database. It was implemented by Armand Turpel.
Example of a Recorder-Lux alert message
Thus, most neobiota observations from Luxembourg will trigger an alarm in a timely manner. However, a small gap remains: the observations of invasive alien bird species via the database of the Centrale Ornithologique du Luxembourg (COL) do not yet trigger an alarm in a timely manner. This currently concerns the following 4 bird species: Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca), Canada goose (Branta canadensis) and Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri).
Posted by C. Ries.
On Sunday 13 June 2021, a citizen of Rumelange discovered an initial nest of an Asian black hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) and reported it to the Natural History Museum. The initial nests of the native Eurasian hornet (Vespa crabro) look very similar.
Note: This occurrence/detection of an Invasive Alien Species of Union concern named Vespa velutina nigrithorax has been notified on 16 June 2021 by Luxembourg, pursuant to Article 16(2) of R.1143/2014. The EASIN Notification System automatically warns (all the other) European Member States whenever the occurrence/detection of an IAS of Union concern is notified.
|Status LU: established. 1st record: LU <1946, ITW 1980.|
|Amerikanesch Kermesbier||Status Eur.: established. 1st record: Med. ~1650.The species was introduced around 1650 into the Mediterranean area to be used as a dye-plant (Balogh & Juhász 2008).|
|Raisin d’Amérique, Teinturier||RA: ISEIA: B1, Watch List. Harmonia+: n/a.|
|Amerikanische Kermesbeere||Wikipedia: Wikispecies: | CABI|
|n/a||Back to the list of neophytes|
Phytolacca americana L. is widely naturalised in ruderal sites and in nature-like habitats in southern Europe, extending northwards to central France. Semi-natural habitats colonised include heaths, open woodlands, clearcut areas and forest edges. In Belgium, it is commonly used as an ornamental; it is planted in gardens and public green areas but doesn’t reproduce in the wild so far. Under suitable environmental conditions, the American pokeweed forms dense populations that can outcompete native vegetation and prevent regeneration of forest species. The plant produces toxic saponins (Branquart et al. 2010).
In 2020, Phytolacca americana L. was proposed as a candidate species to join the list of invasive alien species of Union concern.
The oldest reference to Phytolacca in Luxembourg is found in the Bulletin of the Luxembourg Naturalist Society, when Eugène Beck circulates a sample of Phytolacca […], known from some of Luxembourg City’s ornamental gardens (Anonyme 1946). We assume it to be Phytolacca americana L., as Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. has not yet been observed in Luxembourg. It was first recorded in Belgium in 1960 (Verloove 2021).
The first documentation of the American pokeweed in the wild was recorded in 1980 by Pierre Becker in a fir plantation downstream of Soup in the municipality of Heffingen (Reichling 1985: 136; Obs. key: DSS00465000000CI in MNHNL 2000-).
Grown for ornamental purposes in gardens. Very rare subspontaneous or adventitious; naturalised towards the SW limit of the Flora’s territory: roadsides, waste ground, … The fruits of this species are poisonous, unlike those of Phytolacca acinosa Roxb., which is also grown in gardens for ornamental purposes, but especially for its fruits used as a colouring agent (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 122).
B1 (2+2+3+2) = Watch List. First assessed 2021-02-16 by C. Ries & Y. Krippel.
|↑1||The species was introduced around 1650 into the Mediterranean area to be used as a dye-plant (Balogh & Juhász 2008).|
|n/a||Status LU: casual. 1st record: 2018.|
|Gerändert Glasaenzeck||Status Eur.: established.|
|n/a||RA: ISEIA: n/a. Harmonia+: n/a.|
|n/a||Wikipedia: | Wikispecies:|
|n/a||Back to the list of invertebrates|
Hyalomma marginatum C. L. Koch, 1844 is a species of tick within the Ixodidae family, with a distribution in subtropical regions of the Old World. The sexual animals (imagines) suck blood from a variety of mammalian species, preferably hoofed animals, but occasionally also from humans. Immature forms occur on a variety of vertebrates, including migratory birds. The species has medical importance as a vector of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and typhus (Wikipedia Bearbeiter, 2020).
This tick has been implicated in the transmission of Bahig virus, a pathogenic arbovirus previously thought to be transmitted only by mosquitoes (Wikipedia contributors 2020).
Two observations have been reported in the Recorder-Lux database so far (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2022).
No risk assessments have been done to date.
|Marsh tick||Status LU: established. 1st record: 2015.|
|Suppenzeck||Status Eur.: expanding from SE-Europe.|
|n/a||RA: ISEIA: n/a. Harmonia+: n/a.|
|Auwaldzecke||Wikipedia: | Wikispecies:|
|n/a||Back to the list of invertebrates|
Dermacentor reticulatus Fabricius, 1794 is a species of tick within the Ixodidae family. It is the type species for the genus Dermacentor. D. reticulatus is an ornate tick. The female varies in size from 3.8–4.2 mm (unfed) to 10 mm when engorged after feeding. The unfed male is 4.2–4.8 mm long. D. reticulatus is found in Europe and Western Asia, generally in wooded areas. D. reticulatus is a vector of various disease organisms, including Babesia canis, Francisella tularensis, Coxiella burnetti, Theileria equi, and several Rickettsia species, such as Rickettsia slovaca (Wikipedia contributors, 2020).
As a habitat, the marsh tick prefers humid areas such as riparian forests and moors as well as deciduous forests. Marsh ticks require a summer temperature of 20-22 °C and rainfall of 400-1000 mm. The ticks are cold-tolerant and can survive hard winters. Originally found in Hungary, Austria and northern Italy, the distribution area of the marsh tick has expanded strongly northwards since the 1970s. In Germany, the first natural population was described in 1973 on the Upper Rhine, and it was probably introduced by dogs. There are now free-ranging populations throughout Germany. Likely causes are an increase in natural biotopes, the associated increase in intermediate hosts, and global warming (Wikipedia Bearbeiter, 2020).
Between 2015 and 2020, six Dermacentor ticks were collected in the south of Luxembourg. Previously, these individuals had been identified as Dermacentor marginatus Leach, 1815. However, morphological re-investigation as well as DNA barcoding identified the specimens as Dermacentor reticulatus Fabricius, 1794. Thus only D. reticulatus is known from Luxembourg (Weigand et al. 2020).
52 observations have been reported in the Recorder-Lux database so far (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2022).
Ticks are a topic of discussion in Luxembourg, both by the authorities (e.g. Direction de la Santé 2016) and by the press (e.g. Weisbrodt 2021). Ticks are regularly the subject of parliamentary questions, e.g. the question on the tick Dermacentor reticulatus submitted by member of parliament Cécile Hemmen in April 2021.
No risk assessments have been done to date.
Since the beginning of September 2020, the first sightings of the Yellow-legged Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) have been reported in Luxembourg. To date, its presence has been noted in Junglinster, Ingeldorf, Esch-sur-Alzette, Schifflange and Beckerich. Originally from South-East Asia, this hornet was introduced to France around 2004, and has since gradually colonised much of Europe, from Portugal to northern Germany.
The risk of stinging remains negligible as long as one does not approach its nest. The Yellow-legged Asian Hornet resembles the European Hornet (Vespa crabro), which is indigenous to Europe.
For more information about the Yellow-legged Asian Hornet and especially the characteristics allowing its identification, do not hesitate to consult the links below.
At the beginning of September 2020, freshwater jellyfish were spotted in the Upper Sûre Lake. Photographs of this jellyfish were sent by divers from the CGDIS Frogmen Group to the Water Management Administration (AGE) and the Nature and Forestry Administration (ANF). This observation made it possible to confirm the presence of the Craspedacusta sowerbii jellyfish in the Upper Sûre Lake.
It is true that the term “jellyfish” is reminiscent of marine species with a stinging nature, which can trigger painful skin reactions, similar to a burn, on direct contact with the animal. The freshwater jellyfish, on the other hand, is a harmless relative. Although it belongs to the group of cnidarians, it is completely harmless to humans.
Originally from Asia, the freshwater jellyfish has spread to other parts of the world mainly due to the introduction of aquatic plants and fish. This invasive alien species is no larger than 25 mm in diameter and prefers calm, stagnant waters that warm up considerably in summer.
As this jellyfish requires temperatures often above 20°C over a long period of time, its appearance takes place from July to October with a peak observed from the end of August to the beginning of September.
It should also be noted that these jellyfish prefer clean water. In the evening, they often come to the surface of the water and can be observed there. They can also be admired when diving at greater depths during the day. These jellyfish have also been reported in other surrounding areas. It is very likely that their proliferation will continue as the climate warms.
The problem of the appearance of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which is a real concern in many respects for the Upper Sûre Lake, is a phenomenon totally independent of the appearance of the freshwater jellyfish observed and described in this press release.
In 1974, the polyp of Craspedacusta sowerbii had already been discovered in Luxembourg by biologist Jacques Dahm, in the river Sûre near Wasserbillig (Dahm 1974):
Dahm, J., 1974. Die Hydrozoen Luxemburgs. Eine Bestandsaufnahme und Beschreibung der in Luxemburg lebenden Hydrozoen. Luxembourg. Mém. sci. asp.-prof. 232 p.
|Pond slider||Status LU: established. 1st record: ?|
|Nordamerikanesch Buschtaf-Schmockschillkröt, -deckelsmouk||Status Eur.: established. IAS of EU concern (2016).|
|n/a||RA: see subspecies elegans & scripta|
|Nordamerikanische Buchstaben-Schmuckschildkröte||Wikipedia: | Wikispecies:|
|n/a||Back to the list of vertebrates|
Trachemys scripta (Thunberg in Schoepff, 1792) is a species of common, medium-sized, semi-aquatic turtle. It has been listed as one of the “Top 100” World’s Worst Invaders. These turtles often fight with native species for food, habitat, and other resources. Eventually they bully many native species out of basking sites – areas where there is sunlight and warmth for the species. When basking it is common that pond sliders will do so on birds’ nests, thereby killing the eggs. They also prey on young birds. Turtles that were raised in captivity can develop diseases that are unfamiliar to native species, which can be harmful. Turtles raised in captivity are often released because they become too much to handle or grow bigger than expected. It’s not uncommon that pond sliders will also run away (Wikipedia contributors 2020).
In 2016, Trachemys scripta (Thunberg in Schoepff, 1792) was added to the list of invasive alien species of Union concern (Anonymous 2016) which implies that member states shall take all necessary steps to prevent its unintentional introduction or spread.
Currently, 173 records in Luxembourg are accessible through the MNHNL-mdata portal, when combining the species (145) with its two subspecies, T. scripta scripta (11) and T. scripta elegans (17) present in Luxembourg (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2020).
Invasive pond sliders have been observed climbing the platforms of waterbirds, especially great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus), to sunbathe, thus preventing successful breeding (Konter 2020: 81).
More details are available on the pages dedicated to both subspecies (see their distribution maps below).
→ Finalised Action Plan for Trachemys scripta (De Sousa 2020)
See the subspecies pages for further details.
The pond slider Trachemys scripta (Thunberg in Schoepff, 1792) has three subspecies (Wikipedia contributors 2020b), of which the first two occur in Luxembourg:
In early spring 2020 the Department for the Environment of the Luxembourg Ministry for environment, climate and sustainable development edited leaflets in German and French about Fallopia japonica and Impatiens glandulifera, in co-operation with the National Museum of Natural History and efor-ersa ingénieurs-conseils. They can be downloaded here in PDF format (~ 4 MB each).