The species composition and distribution patterns of non-native fishes in the main rivers of South China.
Non-native fish invasions are among the greatest threats to the sustainability of freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Tilapia and catfish are regularly cultured in South China which is similar to their climate in native areas and may also support their invasive potential. We systematically collected fish from eight main rivers of South China, from 2016 to 2018, to investigate and analyse species' composition and the distribution of non-native fishes. The data reveal that non-native fishes are widespread and abundant in the sampled rivers: of the 98,887 fish collected, 11,832 individuals representing 20 species were not native, which were distributed in the 96% sampled sites. Of the non-native fish species, 17 are used in aquaculture and 19 are native to the tropics; 13 are omnivores while the other seven are predators. Based on dissimilarity of the non-native fish species distributions across the eight rivers, the different rivers could be divided into four assemblages. Geographical isolation and temperature were identified as affecting the distribution patterns of non-native fishes, thereby influencing fish species composition, species number, dominant species, and distribution variations in the South China rivers. Species composition of the non-native fishes in these rivers are related to their introduction vector, compatibility with their native habitat, and feeding strategies. Their distribution was mainly influenced by geographical location and temperature. To mitigate the impacts of non-native fish, a series of stricter management practices, systematic monitoring, and more research are needed.