Why is Canis familiaris labled as "introduced"?

My preference would be to list the Domestic Cat as “introduced” in Egypt to more clearly differentiate them from native Felis lybica observations.

Felis catus should be considered “Introduced” in Egypt because its very existence is anthropogenic. This taxon would not be there - nor exist - if not for the selective-breeding habits of humans.


I agree with @fogartyf here. Edge cases can be endlessly debated and (at least to me) these discussions rarely lead to to any conclusion other than “things are complicated and no system will ever perfectly describe all situations,” which is something that we all know.

I’m not an expert, but I would vote for Canis familiaris having no establishment means as I’m not sure it makes much of a difference for that species, at least on iNaturalist. Will people be crunching data about whether domestic dogs are native or introduced to a certain place? Wild/Not Wild seems to be the most useful metric to track in this case.


Dingoes in Australia. But you could make a distinction between Canis familiaris familiaris and Canis familiaris dingo. Once more, there will always be edge cases, and we could discuss them forever.

It seems to me that a domestic dog in a domestic situation has no establishment means (by definition it is captive and not established in the wild), whereas a feral domestic dog is introduced everywhere, as it descends from a domestic species.


If we assume that “native” and “introduced” are antonyms. Then these two definitions can not coexist without causing logical contradictions. Just saying.

1 Like

They are antonyms in the widely accepted usage, and in iNat’s usage. A free-roaming animal is either native to the area where it occurred, or introduced by humans.


This is what I was trying to convey. Domestic animals are only ‘native’ in a domestic or captive situation, not as feral populations.

I got you now. I agree it took me quite a while to understand you and i tell you why: I studied in Central Europe and we use another definition of native, based on the time of arrival of an organism in an area. We use

  • native, for organisms that inhabited the area for several thousand years, “organisms that evolved there”.

  • Archäophytes, Archäozoa for organisms that arrived recently in the area, but before 1500.

  • Neophytes, Neozoa for organisms that arrived after 1500 in the area.

This seemed to make sense to me, as the consequences of new arrivals (and the potential problems new arrivals might cause) are often related to their novelity and not to the establishment means.

E.g. In the Central European set of definitions Cattle egrets are not native, but Neozoa in the New World … and the fact that they cause new problems (e.g. are involved in the speading of tropical bont tick and cattle disease) is not unusual, as they are not native in this place. They could even be called invasive.
In contrast, in the iNat set of definitions, which is based on establishment means only, Cattle egrets are native to the New World. (while there is no clear evidence that they arrived on their own wing it is still suggested) As natives, they can by definition not be an invasive species there.

Well we could discuss for very long what a domestic or captive situation is, as e.g. here in the Caribbean there is certainly a continuum between wild (or feral?) helmeted guineafowl, helmeted guineafowl that occasionally get a handout of corn from local farmers, helmeted guineafowl that live on a farm and helmeted guineafowl as cage birds (the last one seems the least abundant). But this discussion certainly seems to way off.

Well i learned something, and want to thank everybody involved in the discussion.


But the date of 1492 (or sometimes 1500) is only useful to distinguish, in this case, between archaeozoa (introduced before 1492) and neozoa (introduced after 1492). Archaeozoa must be considered introduced species as well.

If a species has been domesticated but it is also known as wild and it is sure that at least some wild populations have always been so (that is they have never been introduced in the past), there are two cases:

  1. the domesticated animals belong to a different subspecies than the wild one. Then the domesticated subspecies is introduced.

  2. the domesticated animals do not belong to a different subspecies than the wild one. The species is both wild and introduced. As far as iNaturalist is concerned it would be better to keep it as native.

As i understand it, the Central European definition cited above, makes categories based on the time of arrival of an organism in an area.
In contrast, the categories used in iNat are NOT based on the time of arrival, but on whether or not the taxon is considered a human introduction.
This means neither Archäozoa nor Neozoa are necessarily “introduced” in the iNat sense, as there is the possibility that new arrivals came by themselves without human transport. Recently arrived animals can even be categorized as “native” in the iNat sense, see e.g. Cattle egrets in the Americas, or Eurasian collard doves in Europe (but not in America).

1 Like

I should have probably made it clear that I was drawing a distinction between domesticated species (domestic dog, domestic cat, domestic cattle, silkworms) and domestic animals that are the same species (or subspecies) as some that are still present in the wild.


Sorry but I do not get the point concerning the possibility the both archeozoa or neozoa could have arrived somewhere by themselves. If an organism is growing somewhere relying only on natural means, then both the terms archaeozona (or ancheophytes) and neozoa (or nephytes) cannot be used. They are applicable only to organims that are growing in the wild somewhere where they have arrived via anthropogenic means, that is they have been introduced there either intentionally or unintentionally.
I did not know of the approach used in iNat.
The definition of archaeo vs neo distinguishes introduced species only on the basis of their (often presumed) time of arrival. But, what is archeo is a true alien species. Somewhere in Europe archeophytes have been considered a sort of native species but this approach is not scientifically, nor practically to be agreed with.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.