Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 841–851 | Cite as

Origin and genetic diversity of mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) introduced to Europe

  • Oriol VidalEmail author
  • Emili García-Berthou
  • Pablo A. Tedesco
  • José-Luis García-Marín
Original Paper


We provide mitochondrial sequence variation of the invasive fish Gambusia holbrooki from 24 European populations, from Portugal to Greece. Phylogeographic structure in Europe was compared with genetic data from native samples (USA) and historical records were reviewed to identify introduction routes. Overall, data agree with records of historical introductions and translocations, and indicate that the most abundant haplotype throughout Europe originated from North Carolina and corresponded to the first introduction in 1921 to Spain, being transferred to Italy in 1922 and to many countries afterwards. Our results also show that at least another independent introduction occurred first in France and subsequently from France to Greece. Haplotypes of G. affinis were not detected in our European sampling effort but historical records and other data suggest that this species was introduced to Italy in 1927 and it might be present. At the continental scale, there is less diversity in Europe than in North America, in agreement with the low number of introduced fish. At the local scale, some European populations gained diversity from multiple introductions and from “de novo” mutations.


Invasive species Gambusia holbrooki Gambusia affinis Genetic diversity Mosquitofish 



We are grateful to everybody who sent mosquitofish samples from many places or helped us to sample mosquitofish, particularly C. Alcaraz, J. Cucherousset, A. Echelle, C. Fruciano, C. Genas, L. Santos, A. Specziar, F. Maltagliati, M.T. Ferreira, P. Schofield, M. Th. Stoumboudi, R. Arndt and F. Rohde. We also thank anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was financially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education (CGL2006-11652-C02-02/BOS) and the Government of Catalonia (Catalan Government Distinction Award for University Research 2004 to EGB).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oriol Vidal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emili García-Berthou
    • 2
  • Pablo A. Tedesco
    • 2
    • 3
  • José-Luis García-Marín
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratori d’Ictiologia Genètica, Departament de BiologiaUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Institute of Aquatic EcologyUniversity of GironaGironaSpain
  3. 3.Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (UR 131), Département Milieux et Peuplements AquatiquesMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

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