Intra- and intercontinental variation in the functional responses of a high impact alien invasive fish

  • Pieter BoetsEmail author
  • Ciaran Laverty
  • Shinji Fukuda
  • Hugo Verreycken
  • Kyle Green
  • Robert J. Britton
  • Joe Caffrey
  • Peter L. M. Goethals
  • Josephine Pegg
  • Vincent Médoc
  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
Original Paper


Recently, a body of literature has indicated the utility of comparisons among introduced and native species of their functional responses, that is, the relationship between resource use (e.g. predator consumption rate) and resource availability (e.g. prey density) to predict their impact. However, a key feature of this methodology, that has not yet been examined, is the degree to which the functional response curves of an introduced species differ within and between its native and introduced geographical ranges. Information on the variation in functional responses is key to make robust assessments on the ecological impact and to assess possible differences between native and invasive species. Here, we examine the predatory functional responses in multiple native and introduced populations of a globally high impact alien invasive fish, the topmouth gudgeon (Pseudorasbora parva). In standardised aquaria and with two prey species, significant differences in the functional responses among and between different populations occurring in the native and the invaded range were found. Among populations in the native range, the functional response indicated little variation, and fish always showed a Type II response, irrespective of the type of prey used. In the introduced range, populations showed a Type II response when fed chironomid larvae as prey, while a Type III response was observed when feeding Daphnia magna. Populations in the invaded range consumed overall more prey when fed D. magna compared to the populations in the native range. When feeding chironomid larvae, no consistent trend was observed. Context dependencies as well as species-specific traits and fish density most likely play an important role when comparing the functional response between populations occurring in their native and invaded ranges.


Topmouth gudgeon Alien species Pseudorasbora parva Impact assessment Functional response 



Pieter Boets was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO Vlaanderen, Belgium). This study was supported in part by the JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (26250044) and the JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research (70437771). Ciaran Laverty, Kyle D. Green and Jaimie T.A. Dick were funded by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) N. Ireland, the ITSligo President’s Award and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter Boets
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ciaran Laverty
    • 3
  • Shinji Fukuda
    • 4
  • Hugo Verreycken
    • 5
  • Kyle Green
    • 3
  • Robert J. Britton
    • 6
  • Joe Caffrey
    • 7
  • Peter L. M. Goethals
    • 1
  • Josephine Pegg
    • 6
  • Vincent Médoc
    • 8
  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic EcologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Provincial Centre of Environmental ResearchGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Medical and Biological CentreQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  4. 4.Institute of AgricultureTokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyFuchuJapan
  5. 5.Team Monitoring and Restoration of Aquatic FaunaResearch Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)BrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Life and Environmental SciencesBournemouth UniversityPooleUK
  7. 7.INVAS BiosecurityDublin 12Ireland
  8. 8.Equipe Neuro-Ethologie Sensorielle, ENES/Neuro-PSI, CNRS UMR 9197Université de Lyon/Saint-EtienneSaint-Etienne Cedex 2France

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