The number and diversity of source populations may influence the genetic diversity of newly introduced populations and affect the likelihood of their establishment and spread. We used the cytochrome b mitochondrial gene and nuclear microsatellite loci to identify the sources of a successful invader in southern Florida, USA, Cichlasoma urophthalmus (Mayan cichlid). Our cytochrome b data supported an introduction from Guatemala, while our microsatellite data suggested movement of Mayan Cichlids from the upper Yucatán Peninsula to Guatemala and introductions from Guatemala and Belize to Florida. The mismatch between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes suggests admixture of a female lineage from Guatemala, where all individuals were fixed for the mitochondrial haplotype found in the introduced population, and a more diverse but also relatively small number of individuals from Belize. The Florida cytochrome b haplotype appears to be absent from Belize (0 out of 136 fish screened from Belize had this haplotype). Genetic structure within the Florida population was minimal, indicating a panmictic population, while Mexican and Central American samples displayed more genetic subdivision. Individuals from the Upper Yucatán Peninsula and the Petén region of Guatemala were more genetically similar to each other than to fish from nearby sites and movement of Mayan Cichlids between these regions occurred thousands of generations ago, suggestive of pre-Columbian human transportation of Mayan Cichlids through this region. Mayan Cichlids present a rare example of cytonuclear disequilibrium and reduced genetic diversity in the introduced population that persists more than 30 years (at least 7-8 generations) after introduction. We suggest that hybridization occurred in ornamental fish farms in Florida and may contribute their establishment in the novel habitat. Hybridization prior to release may contribute to other successful invasions.
Harrison, E., Trexler, J. C., Collins, T. M., Vazquez-Domínguez, E., Razo-Mendivil, U., Matamoros, W. A., & Barrientos, C. (2014). Genetic evidence for multiple sources of the non-native fish Cichlasoma urophthalmus (Günther; Mayan Cichlids) in southern Florida. PLoS ONE, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104173