The European hornet, Vespa crabro L. (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), is a eusocial insect native to Eurasia that was accidentally introduced in the island of Sardinia (Italy) in 2010. This alien generalist predator could impact on native insect species through predation or competition by modifying interspecific relations in sensitive island ecosystems. As part of the Interreg project ALIEM, the present work regarded the first monitoring activity of the European hornet conducted in Sardinia by means of verified citizen science. The main goals of this study were to define the distribution area of the wasp in 2018 and evaluate the profile and the performance of citizen scientists. Our results showed that V. crabro is mainly located in north-eastern Sardinia and that the hotspot was probably the commercial port of Olbia. Furthermore, data provided by contributors were very accurate and none of the parameters considered to define the participants (age, gender, education level, job category) was a true predictor of a volunteer's ability to recognise the wasp. In conclusion, this small-scale study suggests that citizen scientists could be a valuable aid to monitor already-established alien species and could be part of a surveillance network for early detection of other potentially invasive alien species not yet introduced in Sardinia, such as the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, which is already present in northern Italy.
Using verified citizen science as a tool for monitoring the European hornet (Vespa crabro) in the Island of Sardinia (Italy) / Pusceddu, M.; Floris, I.; Mannu, R.; Cocco, A.; Satta, A.. - In: NEOBIOTA. - ISSN 1619-0033. - (2019). [10.3897/neobiota.50.37587]