The review of ecological and genetic research of Ponto-Caspian gobies (Pisces, Gobiidae) in Europe.
Invasive Ponto-Caspian gobies (monkey goby Neogobius fluviatilis, round goby Neogobius melanostomus and bighead goby Ponticola kessleri) have recently caused dramatic changes in fish assemblage structure throughout European river systems. This review provides summary of recent research on their dietary habits, age and growth, phylogenetic lineages and gene diversity. The principal food of all three species is invertebrates, and more rarely fish, which depends on the type of habitat, part of the year, as well as the morphological characteristics of species. According to the von Bertalanffy growth model, size at age is specific for the region, but due to its disadvantages it is necessary to test other growth models. Phylogenetic analysis of monkey goby and round goby indicates separation between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea haplotypes. The greatest genetic diversity is found among populations of the Black Sea, and the lowest among European invaders. The lack of molecular research on bighead goby requires further studies.