Multiple introductions promote range expansion of the mollusc Cyclope neritea (Nassariidae) in France: evidence from mitochondrial sequence data

Authors

  • B. SIMON-BOUHET,

    1. Evolution et Génétique des Populations Marines, UMR 7144 CNRS-UPMC, Station Biologique de Roscoff, B.P. 74, 29682 Roscoff cedex, France,
    2. Laboratoire de Biologie et Environnement Marins, FRE 2727 CNRS-ULR, Avenue Michel Crépeau, 17042 La Rochelle, France
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  • P. GARCIA-MEUNIER,

    1. Laboratoire de Biologie et Environnement Marins, FRE 2727 CNRS-ULR, Avenue Michel Crépeau, 17042 La Rochelle, France
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  • F. VIARD

    1. Evolution et Génétique des Populations Marines, UMR 7144 CNRS-UPMC, Station Biologique de Roscoff, B.P. 74, 29682 Roscoff cedex, France,
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Benoît Simon-Bouhet, Fax: +33 546500294; E-mail: bsimonbo@univ-lr.fr, bsimonbo@sb-roscoff.fr

Abstract

Since the 1970s, the nassariid gastropod Cyclope neritea has been extending its range north along the French Atlantic coasts from the Iberian Peninsula. This may be due to natural spread because of the recent warming of the northeastern Atlantic. However, human-mediated introductions related to shellfish culture may also be a probable explanation for this sudden range expansion. To examine these two hypotheses, we carried out a comprehensive study based on mitochondrial gene sequences (cytochrome oxidase I) of the five recently colonized French bays as well as 14 populations located in the recognized native range of the species. From a total of 594 individuals, we observed 29 haplotypes to split into three divergent clades. In the native range, we observed a low molecular diversity, strong genetic structure and agreement between geography and gene genealogies. Along the French coasts, we observed the opposite: high genetic diversity and low genetic structure. Our results show that recurrent human-mediated introductions from several geographical areas in the native range may be a source for the French Atlantic populations. However, despite the low dispersal ability of C. neritea, the isolation-by-distance pattern in France suggested that this gastropod may have been present (although unnoticed) on the French Atlantic coasts before the 1970s. As C. neritea shows characteristics of a cryptogenic species, the classification of Atlantic populations as either native or introduced is not straightforward. Cryptogenic species should be studied further to determine the status of new populations close to their recognized native range.

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