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No genetic bottleneck or associated microparasite loss in invasive populations of a freshwater amphipod


  • Rémi A. Wattier,

  • Eleanor R. Haine,

  • Jérémie Beguet,

  • Guenaël Martin,

  • Loïc Bollache,

  • Ilona B. Muskó,

  • Dirk Platvoet,

  • Thierry Rigaud

R. A. Wattier (, E. R. Haine, J. Beguet, G. Martin, L. Bollache and T. Rigaud, Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Univ. de Bourgogne, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, FR-21000 Dijon, France. Present address for ERH: Dept of Animal & Plant Sciences, Univ. of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, UK, S10 2TN. – I. B. Muskó, Balaton Limnological Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Klebelsberg Kuno str. 3, PO Box 35, HU-8237 Tihany, Hungary. – D. Platvoet, Univ. of Amsterdam, Museum of Zoology, Mauritskade 57, NL-1092 AD Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Understanding what factors determine the success of an invasive species in its adopted range is crucial from an evolutionary ecology point of view, because it can provide insights into which biological characteristics are required for survival in varied environmental conditions. Successful establishment may depend on both maintaining genetic diversity, which will allow the species to evolve and/or adapt to new environments, and the presence or absence of natural enemies such as parasites. We tested these two hypotheses by studying populations of the amphipod crustacean Dikerogammarus villosus. This Ponto-Caspian invader has rapidly and successfully invaded western Europe and threatens macroinvertebrate biodiversity in its adopted ranges. It is a unique system to study since both its colonisation history and its geographic origins are well-known. Using samples from the whole geographic range of the invasion route, and using four molecular markers, we found no evidence for genetic bottlenecks during the invasion of D. villosus in western Europe, despite slight variations in allelic proportions according to spatio-temporal subdivisions of our dataset. In addition, we analysed the prevalence and diversity of parasites across its native and adopted range. We found no macro-parasites, and no significant parasite loss of microsporidian parasites during the invasive process. Our data suggest that D. villosus invasion was either massive, or recurrent, or both, allowing a parasitic cortege to follow the host. The maintenance of genetic diversity may have contributed to its success, including the variation in resistance in the face of the natural enemies.

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