Biological Invasions

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 173-181

First online:

The Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus, a Fish Invader on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean

  • Lynda D. CorkumAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor Email author 
  • , Mariusz R. SapotaAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Biology and Ecology, Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk
  • , Krzysztof E. SkoraAffiliated withHel Marine Station, Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk

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During the past decade, a bottom-dwelling, aggressive, multiple-spawning fish, the round goby (Gobiidae: Neogobius melanostomus), has spread from its native region in the Ponto-Caspian throughout Europe and to the Laurentian Great Lakes in North America. An international workshop, held at the Hel Marine Station, Poland, was organized to summarize population features of the round goby. Common fish predators of round gobies in the Great Lakes and in native regions are obligate and facultative benthic fishes and occasionally, pelagic fishes. In contrast, the main predator of the round goby in the Gulf of Gdansk is the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo). In the Great Lakes, round gobies have lead to the decline of mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) and logperch (Percina caprodes) and reduced the hatching success of native fishes by feeding on their eggs. In the Gulf of Gdansk, round gobies have increased in abundance, while three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) have declined. Round gobies have a broad diet throughout their range; larger specimens are molluscivores. There are fewer species of parasites and lower infection rates of round gobies in recently colonized areas than in native areas. Overall, newly colonized round gobies in brackish waters and lakes are smaller, mature earlier, have a male biased operational sex ratio and are more short-lived compared with round gobies from marine (native) habitats.

Baltic Sea Europe fish Laurentian Great Lakes Neogobius melanostomus nonindigenous species North America