Misperceived invasion: the Lusitanian slug (Arion lusitanicus auct. non-Mabille or Arion vulgaris Moquin-Tandon 1855) is native to Central Europe

Authors

  • Markus Pfenninger,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biodiversity und Climate Research Centre by Senckenberg Naturforschende Gesellschaft, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany
    • Correspondence

      Markus Pfenninger, Biodiversity und Climate Research Centre by Senckenberg Naturforschende Gesellschaft, Goethe-Universität, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany.

      Tel.: +49 69 7542 1841;

      fax: +49 69 7542 1800;

      e-mail: Pfenninger@bio.uni-frankfurt.de

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  • Alexander Weigand,

    1. Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, J.W. Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Miklós Bálint,

    1. Biodiversity und Climate Research Centre by Senckenberg Naturforschende Gesellschaft, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Annette Klussmann-Kolb

    1. Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, J.W. Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany
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Abstract

The Lusitanian slug, presumed to be native to south-west Europe, was ranked among the 100 worst invading species in Central Europe. However, from the very beginning of its recognition in the presumed invasion area, there was little evidence that the species was actually anthropogenically introduced. We investigated the invasive status of the species by comparing specific predictions on the population genetic structure in the invasion area with the pattern actually found. In a DNA-taxonomy approach, the species could not be found in its presumed native range. Using statistical phylogeographic techniques on a mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (ZF) marker and species distribution modelling, we could show that the species is with very high probability not an invasor, but native to Central Europe. The study underlines the value of statistical phylogeography in rigorously testing hypotheses on the dynamics of biological invasions.

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