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Open AccessArticle

Genetic Data Suggest Multiple Introductions of the Lionfish (Pterois miles) into the Mediterranean Sea

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus, Panepistimiou Str. 1, Aglantzia, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus
School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba, Shizuoka 415-0025, Japan
Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd., Cyprus. 202 Amathountos Avenue, Marina Gardens, 4533 Limassol, Cyprus
Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre, Acropoleos 2, Aglantzia, 2101 Nicosia, Cyprus
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(9), 149;
Received: 7 June 2019 / Revised: 20 August 2019 / Accepted: 23 August 2019 / Published: 27 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasions 2020 Horizon)
Widespread reports over the last six years confirm the establishment of lionfish (Pterois miles) populations in the eastern Mediterranean. Accumulated knowledge on lionfish invasions in the western Atlantic Ocean has shown that it is a successful invader and can have negative impacts on native species, indirect ecological repercussions and economic effects on local human societies. Here we analysed genetic sequences of lionfish from Cyprus as well as data from the whole distribution of the species, targeting the mtDNA markers cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and the control region (CR). Our results reflect a pattern of repeated introductions into the Mediterranean from the northern Red Sea and a secondary spread of this species west to Rhodes and Sicily. Presented results agree with previously published studies highlighting the genetic similarity with individuals from the northern Red Sea. Nevertheless, some individuals from Cyprus, in addition to those coming via the Suez Canal, were genetically similar to fish from the Indian Ocean, indicating genetic homogeneity among populations of P. miles across its current distribution, possibly facilitated by the ornamental fish trade and/or transport through ballast water. View Full-Text
Keywords: invasive species; genetic diversity; Lessepsian migration; haplotype network invasive species; genetic diversity; Lessepsian migration; haplotype network
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Dimitriou, A.C.; Chartosia, N.; Hall-Spencer, J.M.; Kleitou, P.; Jimenez, C.; Antoniou, C.; Hadjioannou, L.; Kletou, D.; Sfenthourakis, S. Genetic Data Suggest Multiple Introductions of the Lionfish (Pterois miles) into the Mediterranean Sea. Diversity 2019, 11, 149.

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