Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Behavioural responses to con- and heterospecific alarm cues by an alien and a coexisting native fish.

Abstract

The monkey goby Neogobius fluviatilis is an invasive Ponto-Caspian fish that enters habitats of the native gudgeon Gobio gobio in European freshwaters, likely belonging to the same prey guild. Their abilities to detect and avoid predation have been poorly understood, although these traits may contribute to the competitive advantage and drive the invasion success of the goby. We tested intra- and interspecific responses of fish from sympatric populations to damage-released alarm cues (skin extract) in laboratory. Both species of fish responded to conspecific and heterospecific cues, but their responses to conspecifics were more diverse (changed social distancing among individuals, reduced vertical and horizontal movement) than those elicited by heterospecifics (changed social distancing only). Moreover, the fish differed in their anti-predation behaviour: the gudgeon increased whilst the monkey goby decreased inter-individual distances and only the gudgeon exhibited thigmotaxis and reduced mobility in response to the conspecific cues. Interspecific differences show that the species exhibit distant anti-predation strategies. This might be associated with their phylogenetic distance and/or higher differentiation of their ecological niches than commonly assumed. Besides, our results suggest that alien species be included in the interspecific exchange of information in local fish assemblages.