Rainbow trout in Europe: introduction, naturalization, and impacts.
The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is probably the most widely introduced fish species in the world. Since the first translocation outside of the range of its natural distribution, the species has been introduced into at least 99 countries and has established reproducing populations in many different parts of the world. The present review aims to synthesize the existing information on these translocations, with special emphasis on self-sustaining populations in Europe, where continuous introductions have in general not led to naturalization. Our survey produced a list of more than 130 confirmed or potential self-sustaining populations across 16 European countries. The highest abundance of such populations was observed in the Alpine foothills of central Europe where naturalization is not limited to modified waters less suitable for native salmonids but also occurs commonly in pristine and near-natural waters. There is no consensus on the reasons for the absence of self-sustaining populations of rainbow trout across much of Europe, partly because knowledge of the mechanisms involved is limited, while the data collected here shed new light on the invasion biology of the species.