Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Global invasion genetics of two parasitic copepods infecting marine bivalves.

Abstract

Invasive species, and especially invasive parasites, represent excellent models to study ecological and evolutionary mechanisms in the wild. To understand these processes, it is crucial to obtain more knowledge on the native range, invasion routes and invasion history of invasive parasites. We investigated the consecutive invasions of two parasitic copepods (Mytilicola intestinalis and Mytilicola orientalis) by combining an extensive literature survey covering the reported putative native regions and the present-day invaded regions with a global phylogeography of both species. The population genetic analyses based on partial COI sequences revealed significant population differentiation for M. orientalis within the native region in Japan, while introduced populations in North America and Europe could not be distinguished from the native ones. Thus, M. orientalis' invasion history resembles the genetic structure and recent spread of its principal host, the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, while M. intestinalis lacks population genetic structure and has an overall low genetic diversity. Therefore, the native origin of M. intestinalis remains unclear. With this study, we demonstrate that even highly related and biologically similar invasive species can differ in their invasion genetics. From this, we conclude that extrapolating invasion genetics dynamics from related invasive taxa may not always be possible.