Population-specific responses to an invasive species

Martin Reichard, Karel Douda, Mirosław Przybyłski, Oana P. Popa, Eva Karbanová, Klára Matasová, Kateřina Rylková, Matej Polačik, Radim Blažek, Carl Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Predicting the impacts of non-native species remains a challenge. As populations of a species are genetically and phenotypically variable, the impact of non-native species on local taxa could crucially depend on population-specific traits and adaptations of both native and non-native species. Bitterling fishes are brood parasites of unionid mussels and unionid mussels produce larvae that parasitize fish. We used common garden experiments to measure three key elements in the bitterling-mussel association among two populations of an invasive mussel (Anodonta woodiana) and four populations of European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus). The impact of the invasive mussel varied between geographically distinct R. amarus lineages and between local populations within lineages. The capacity of parasitic larvae of the invasive mussel to exploit R. amarus was higher in a Danubian than in a Baltic R. amarus lineage and in allopatric than in sympatric R. amarus populations. Maladaptive oviposition by R. amarus into A. woodiana varied among populations, with significant population-specific consequences for R. amarus recruitment. We suggest that variation in coevolutionary states may predispose different populations to divergent responses. Given that coevolutionary relationships are ubiquitous, population-specific attributes of invasive and native populations may play a critical role in the outcome of invasion. We argue for a shift from a species-centred to population-centred perspective of the impacts of invasions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20151063
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1812
Early online date15 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015


  • Alien species
  • Anodonta woodiana
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Glochidia
  • Host-parasite dynamics
  • Symbiosis


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