Aims: This study aims to evaluate the impact of the introduced Indian gray mongoose, Herpestes edwardsii (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1818) on some non-target vertebrate and invertebrate native species of the Abu-Musa Island, in the Persian Gulf in southern Iran.
Methods: This study was conducted during April to July 2013 in Abu-Musa and Greet Tunb islands, as case and control districts, respectively. For this purpose, the abundance and distribution pattern of lizards, snakes and scorpions that are hunted by the Mongoose was estimated in Abu-Musa and Greet Tunb Islands and were compared.
Also the researcher’s observations among the population of the Indian gray mongoose and some of its behaviors were recorded.
Results: The abundance ratio of lizards in wildlife Island (outside area of human habitat) to residential areas, was determined 0.25 (SE= ±0.05), which is significantly less than Greet Tunb island with 0.48 (±0.04) (P=0.001). This implies the reduction of the lizard population in the wildlife of Abu-Musa Island. This is while there is no significant decrease in the population frequency of scorpion in the Abu-Musa Island (P=0.556).
In this study, 4 species of Lizards including Geckonidae and Sphaeroductylidae were reported for the first time from this Iranian Island on the Persian Gulf.
During the exploration on the Abu- Musa, with the exception of sea snakes that were visible on the coastal area, no snakes were seen. Probably snakes have disappeared in this island by Indian Gray Mongoose.
Conclusion: Although the reduction or elimination of the snakes and even the lizards population from the Abu -Musa Island, may be of interest for the people and the military forces in this island, but this issue can affect the native species and the biodiversity and also the life of sensitive ecosystems of this island. Based on these findings and other experiences in the world, the Indian gray mongoose, Herpestes edwardsii, is not recommended to get introduced in the other islands and regions of Iran, as a biological control agent.