Published on Tue Jul 20 2021

Global distribution and diversity of alien Ponto-Caspian amphipods

Copilas-Ciocianu, D., Sidorov, D., Sidagyte-Copilas, E.

Up to 39 species in 19 genera and five families, belonging to all four currently recognized ecomorphs, are potentially alien. Most species (62%) have limited distributions, 15% are widespread, and 23% exhibit intermediate ranges.

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Abstract

The Ponto-Caspian region is an important donor of aquatic alien species throughout the Northern Hemisphere, many of which are amphipod crustaceans. Despite decades of ongoing spread and negative effects on native biota, a complete picture of the global diversity and distribution of these amphipods has yet to emerge, hampering efficient monitoring and predictions of future invasions. Herein, we provide a comprehensive summary of alien species taxonomic and ecomorphological diversity, as well as high-resolution distribution maps and biogeographical patterns based on >8000 global records. We find that up to 39 species in 19 genera and five families, belonging to all four currently recognized ecomorphs, are potentially alien, their diversity gradually decreasing with distance from the native region. Most species (62%) have limited distributions, 15% are widespread, and 23% exhibit intermediate ranges. We also find that regions adjacent to the native areal are comparatively less well-sampled than more distant regions. Biogeographical clustering revealed three faunal provinces that largely correspond with the Southern, Central and Northern invasion corridors. We conclude that 1) alien amphipods are a representative subsample of the native Ponto-Caspian phylogenetic and ecomorphological diversity, and 2) that their biogeographical patterns are driven by anthropogenic factors acting on distinct native regional species pools.