Life-history traits of invasive fish in small Mediterranean streams
- Cite this article as:
- Vila-Gispert, A., Alcaraz, C. & García-Berthou, E. Biological Invasions (2005) 7: 107. doi:10.1007/s10530-004-9640-y
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We compared the life-history traits of native and invasive fish species from Catalan streams in order to identify the characters of successful invasive fish species. Most of the exotic fish species were characterized by large size, long longevity, late maturity, high fecundity, few spawnings per year, and short reproductive span, whereas Iberian native species exhibited predominantly the opposite suite of traits. Species native to the southeastern Pyrenees watershed were also significantly different from species native to the rest of the Iberian Peninsula but not native to this watershed. Iberian exotic species come predominantly from large river basins, whereas Catalan streams (and other small, coastal river basins) correspond to basins and streams of a smaller size and different hydrology, with differences in species composition and life-history traits of fish. The occurrence and spread of invasive species was not significantly related to life-history traits but to introduction date. The successful prediction of future invasive species is limited due to small differences in life-history and ecological traits between native and exotic species. Fecundity, age at maturity, water quality flexibility, tolerance to pollution and habitat seem the most discriminating life-history variables.