Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Nursery habitat characteristics of an invasive, omnivorous fish.

Abstract

Understanding habitat use and reproductive biology of invasive species is essential to predicting invasions, designing early detection programs, and developing management plans. The rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus; Linnaeus, 1758) is an omnivorous fish native to Europe and western Asia that has been translocated to several countries in western Europe, New Zealand, North America, and Africa. However, little is known about early life history of rudd, particularly in invaded ecosystems, limiting our ability to predict invasions and create early detection and control programs. The upper Niagara River has the most abundant population of rudd in North America and has been the focus of several ecological investigations. Our study identified critical nursery habitats by determining which nearshore habitat factors were most strongly associated with presence of age-0 rudd. We found that emergent vegetation was the most important habitat characteristic associated with the presence of age-0 rudd. When emergent vegetation was not present, rudd were more likely to be present at sites with abundant submerged aquatic vegetation. Additionally, the odds of rudd presence decreased as distance to the nearest wetland increased. These findings can be used to create habitat-driven predictive models of rudd invasion and guide early detection programs for rudd outside their native range.