Life history characteristics of the potentially invasive Ponto-Caspian goby Neogobius fluviatilis in natural lakes from its native range (Black Sea region of Turkey).
The aim of this study was to provide baseline data and fill an outstanding knowledge gap in our understanding of factors affecting the invasiveness of the Ponto-Caspian gobiid Neogobius fluviatilis. To this end, the life history traits (as somatic growth and reproduction) of N. fluviatilis were studied in three natural freshwater lakes in its native range. These populations were characterised by slow somatic growth rates, being the slowest reported across all the native and non-native ranges of N. fluviatilis. Ages were recorded to 7 years. Across the three lakes, there was considerable variability in sex ratios and reproductive traits (including length at maturity and fecundity at length and age), revealing considerable interpopulation variability. These data suggest that N. fluviatilis has considerable plasticity in the expression of its life history traits, with this plasticity argued as a key factor in facilitating the ability of N. fluviatilis to establish and invade new waters following introductions.