Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A case of complete loss of gill parasites in the invasive cichlid Oreochromis mossambicus.

Abstract

This study investigates the recent evolution of a rich parasite community associated with one of the world's most invasive species, the cichlid fish Oreochromis mossambicus. Populations from the species' native range (Mozambique) are compared to a population from New Caledonia (Wester Pacific), an island where the species was introduced in 1954. The results support the complete local extinction of the gill parasite community in the course of the invasion process. Up to six gill parasite species per locality were documented in the O. mossambicus native range, and previous surveys consistently reported at least one parasite species introduced along African cichlid species established out of Africa. The absence of parasites in New Caledonia is therefore exceptional. This can be attributed to local factors, such as a strong initial population bottleneck, the likely absence of multiple host introductions, and the frequent occurrence of brackish watersheds that might enhance the probability for natural deparasitation.