I see golden mussel! They are everywhere! Environmental DNA supports widespread dissemination of Limnoperna fortunei in hydrographic basins in the Paraná State, Brazil.
The golden mussel is an aquatic invasive species that was introduced in South America in the '90s, including Brazil, and was firstly registered in 2001 in the Paraná state. This bivalve causes macrofouling issues because adhere in substrates and form dense aggregations, affecting especially hydroelectric power plants, and water treatment facilities, apart from the native biodiversity. The present research aimed to diagnose the distribution of Limnoperna fortunei in the Paraná state using environmental DNA (eDNA) from 174 sites from 12 basins, and scientific and technical previous records. L. fortunei eDNA was found in 90 sites from 11 hydrographic basins sampled. Most of the positive samples were detected in Iguaçu (42), Tibagi (15), and Ivaí (10) rivers basins. We also registered the first occurrence for five basins: Cinzas, Itararé, Ivaí, Pirapó e Ribeira rivers. Together, our and previous data recorded L. fortunei in 118 sites, between adult, larvae, and eDNA detection. Moreover, the results evidenced that eDNA is a low coast and reliable tool, and it may be very recommended for L. fortunei early detection and diagnosis. The present research was the greatest and most widespread survey for golden mussel prospection in a state in Brazil, supported a worrying scenario for Parana, with the urgent need for intense and continuous monitoring and prevention actions for controlling and mitigation of the L. fortunei impacts.