1. The topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva Schlegel, 1842, a south‐east asian cyprinid, was introduced accidentally in the Danube Delta in Romania in the 1960s and has now achieved a pan‐Danubian distribution. P. parva has been introduced into other countries, such as Greece, usually inadvertently included with other species imported for fish farming. In 1984–85, during a study of the fish populations of Lake Mikri Prespa (north‐west Greece), several topmouth gudgeon were caught. Our aim was to study the changes in the population size of P. parva over nearly 10 years, to study its life history traits and to assess its potential impacts on native fish species. 2. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) in spring increased significantly between 1984 and 1992. We found evidence that P. parva has established a breeding population in the lake. P. parva combines many characteristics likely to favour a successful colonization (resistance to harsh climatic conditions, early sexual maturity, extended breeding season, broad dietary spectrum). Growth in Lake Prespa, where the oldest individuals captured were 3 years old, is very similar to that observed within its native range. 3. There is evidence for dietary overlap between P. parva and three endemic species: Paraphoxinus epiroticus prespensis, Cobitis meridionalis and Alburnoides bipunctatus ohridanus. No decline in the populations of these three species has yet been demonstrated. Other possible impacts are discussed. The successful colonization by P. parva was certainly favoured by the absence of a true piscivorous fish in the lake and by the isolation and high level of endemism of fish communities. 4. The conservation of the many endemic species in the lake should be a priority and the introduction of exotic species should be banned.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1993
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