Origin and invasion of the emerging infectious pathogen Sphaerothecum destruens.
Non-native species are often linked to the introduction of novel pathogens with detrimental effects on native biodiversity. Since Sphaerothecum destruens was first discovered as a fish pathogen in the United Kingdom, it has been identified as a potential threat to European fish biodiversity. Despite this parasite's emergence and associated disease risk, there is still a poor understanding of its origin in Europe. Here, we provide the first evidence to support the hypothesis that S. destruens was accidentally introduced to Europe from China along with its reservoir host Pseudorasbora parva via the aquaculture trade. This is the first study to confirm the presence of S. destruens in China, and it has expanded the confirmed range of S. destruens to additional locations in Europe. The demographic analysis of S. destruens and its host P. parva in their native and invasive range further supported the close association of both species. This research has direct significance and management implications for S. destruens in Europe as a non-native parasite.