Using a unified invasion framework to characterize Africa’s first loricariid catfish invasion
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This paper presents evidence of establishment of a loricariid population in the Nseleni River in South Africa and uses a unified framework to determine its invasion stage. Specimens were identified morphologically as Pterygioplichthys disjunctivus (Weber 1991), but genetic barcoding results indicated close association with specimens that may have a hybrid history. The species was introduced into South Africa via the pet trade and the first record of introduction into the wild was in 2004. Samples collected in 2011 and 2012 demonstrated that there were multiple length cohorts in the population including juveniles (12–130 mm total length TL) and large ([300 mm TL) adult fish. Gonadal assessment of adults demonstrated the presence of reproduction capable specimens. The concurrent occurrence of mature adults and juvenile fish demonstrated establishment. Locality records indicate that P. disjunctivus has already spread between two rivers through an inter basin water transfer. Using a unified framework for invasions this invasion was categorized as a self sustaining population in the wild with individuals surviving and reproducing a significant distance from their original point of introduction. Containment is suggested as potential management strategy.
- RESEARCH: Weyl, O