Camouflaged invasion of Lake Malawi by an Oriental gastropod

Authors

  • MARTIN J. GENNER,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
      M. J. Genner. Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull, Hull. HU6 7RX. UK. Fax: + 44 (0) 1482 465458; E-mail: mjgenner@hotmail.com
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  • ELLINOR MICHEL,

    1. Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
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  • DIRK ERPENBECK,

    1. Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • NICOLE DE VOOGD,

    1. Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • FRANS WITTE,

    1. Institute Biology Leiden, University of Leiden, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • JEAN-PIERRE POINTIER

    1. Centre de Biologie et Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne, EPHE, UMR 5555 CNRS, Avenue de Villeneuve, 66860 Perpignan cedex, France
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M. J. Genner. Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull, Hull. HU6 7RX. UK. Fax: + 44 (0) 1482 465458; E-mail: mjgenner@hotmail.com

Abstract

In this study we report the first animal invasion, to our knowledge, into Lake Malawi. The colonizer is a non-native morph of the gastropod Melanoides tuberculata that differs substantially in external shell characters from co-occurring indigenous forms. However, because the species possesses extensive within-Africa geographical variation in shell morphology, it was unclear whether the invasion was range expansion of a native African morph, or a colonization from elsewhere. Mitochondrial DNA sequences indicate a southeast Asian origin for the invader, suggesting that shell variation found among indigenous allopatric populations camouflaged an intercontinental invasion.

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