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Aliens have landed - and they're thriving

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The greater white-toothed shrew

The greater white-toothed shrew

An emperor dragonfly

An emperor dragonfly

The slow worm

The slow worm

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The greater white-toothed shrew

ALMOST three dozen alien species are thriving in Ireland because of global warming and record rainfall levels.

Among species that have become a common feature of Irish wildlife are the Chinese mitten crab, bank vole, mourning dove, emperor dragonfly, natterjack toad, trigger fish and slipper lobster.

A TG4 documentary series, 'Coimhtioch Gan Cuireadh' or 'Alien Invaders', will show how some of the species arrived here only recently while others turned up generations ago.

John Murphy, of Waxwing Wildlife Productions which made the six-part series, said one new arrival was the greater white-toothed shrew, which had probably arrived in the roots of imported trees and were now thriving in counties Tipperary and Limerick.

The collared dove, cattle egrets and blackcap are new examples of birds; and slow worms, which are only found on the reclaimed meadow fringes of the Burren, were reportedly brought over by British hippies in the early 1970s. Alien fish species are appearing in greater numbers, including the grey triggerfish which hails from the tropical Atlantic and the Mediterranean.