Molecular confirmation of the large-scale loach Paramisgurnus dabryanus Dabry de Thiersant, 1872 (Cypriniformes, Cobitidae) in Europe.
Asian weather loach species of the genus Paramisgurnus and Misgurnus can have a great invasive potential. In Europe, several feral populations of Asian weather loach have been reported, many of them within the distribution range of the native European weather loach Misgurnus fossilis, a declining species of high conservation concern. Distinguishing the different exotic species of weather loach can be difficult for the non-expert, as their general morphology is very similar, the coloration patterns are highly variable and the morphological characteristics may become degraded after preservation. We present the first molecular genetic confirmation of the presence of the large-scale loach Paramisgurnus dabryanus in Europe, after analyzing two specimens from a small pond along the brook "Wörthlinger Bach" (Danube catchment) in southern Germany. Accurate species identification is crucial both in the context of monitoring and conserving endangered species, and in detection and prevention of biological invasions. Therefore, we suggest the standard use of genetic species assignment based on mitochondrial DNA barcoding in monitoring cryptic fish species complexes, especially during potentially cryptic biological invasions.