Reconstructing the introduction history of an invasive fish predator in South Africa
Format Extent734472 bytes
MetadataShow full item record
The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a global invader with demonstrated ecological impacts on native fish communities. Introductions of fishes in freshwater ecosystems are often characterized as complex processes, yet an understanding of the nature of the introduction can inform management and conservation actions. Early in the twentieth century, two introductions of Largemouth Bass were made into South Africa for the establishment of a recreational fishery, and subsequent translocations have expanded their distribution to include much of southern Africa. In this study we quantified neutral genetic variation, modelled potential introduction scenarios, and identified potential source regions from within the native range. We documented limited levels of genetic diversity in nuclear microsatellite genotypes across populations (mean allelic richness = 1.80 and mean observed heterozygosity = 0.16) and observed low levels of genetic differentiation among four of the five focal populations (mean pairwise fixation index = 0.09), with a fifth population displaying greater levels of genetic divergence (mean pairwise fixation index = 0.27). A total of three cytochrome b haplotypes were recovered from South Africa samples and the single most common haplotype (93% of individuals) was identical to a haplotype from a population of Largemouth Bass in Maryland, USA. Using limited available stocking data along with outputs from Principal Component Analysis and approximate Bayesian evaluation of competing introduction scenarios we confirm the presence of multiple introductions. Despite evidence for multiple introductions, Largemouth Bass in South African water bodies harbor extremely low neutral genetic diversity, suggesting that even a very limited number of propagules can experience a high likelihood of success in invading nonnative waters.
- RESEARCH: Weyl, O