Morphological and Molecular Data Reveal the Presence of the Invasive Artemia franciscana in Margherita di Savoia Salterns (Italy)



Introduced populations of the American invasive Artemiafranciscana have been reported in Mediterranean countries except for Italy. A recent sampling at Margherita di Savoia revealed the presence of mating pairs in a saltwork known to host only parthenogens. An integrated approach, based on scanning electron microscopy of four morphological traits, discriminant analysis of 13 morphometric characters and 16S rRNA PCR-RFLP profiles of eight endonucleases was implemented for the identification of the invader. Patterns of variability in all assayed markers provided congruent and solid evidence that the allochthonous species is A. franciscana. Native parthenogens are still predominant (∼98.4%) in this Italian site but they can be rapidly outcompeted by A. franciscana, as it occurred in similar cases throughout Europe and elsewhere. (© 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)