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Inter-population variability in growth and reproduction of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) across the Iberian Peninsula
The bleak Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) is an invasive fish in the Iberian Peninsula, where this cyprinid species threatens a valuable endemic fish fauna. Despite the high ecological risk posed by bleak, no studies exist on variations in their population traits at a large scale for the Mediterranean region of Europe. Hence, the present study aims to compare growth and reproductive traits of invasive bleak among the main Iberian rivers and a ‘reference’ native bleak population from France (May–June 2012, i.e. pre-spawning period). Bleak from the River Tagus had the highest back-calculated total lengths (TLs), growth rate and body condition, but the lowest reproductive investment and smallest egg size. These two reproductive traits were the highest in the River Ebro, where fecundity was the lowest for all Iberian rivers. The youngest age and the smallest TL at maturity were found in the River Ebro. The River Segura had the lowest back-calculated TLs and growth rate, the highest fecundity and proportion of females, and the oldest age at maturity. Bleak population traits in the River Saône were generally different from Iberian rivers, except for the River Ebro. This wide inter-population variability contributes to the species’ successful establishment in novel habitats.
MF17092 Accepted 05 December 2017
© CSIRO 2017