Does latitude drive the phenotypic plasticity of morphological traits in non-native pumpkinseed populations from Europe?
Phenotypic plasticity is one of the traits often associated with successful invasive species, providing each individual with a unique ability to adapt to novel environments. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the morphological plasticity of Lepomis gibbosus, a successful invader outside of its native North American range, across the latitudinal extent of the species' introduced European range to determine whether or not climate, using latitude as a surrogate of thermal conditions, has an underlying influence on the species' morphology and consequently its invasiveness potential. Five characters (body depth, dorsal, ventral and pelvic fins, and eye diameter) differed significantly among the populations, and in particular the Slovakian population, with a significant effect of latitude on five other characters (maxilla length, pre-dorsal, pre-ventral, pre-orbital distances, and caudal peduncle length), which distinguished the various populations and distinguished the Portuguese population from the rest. The results suggest considerable morphological plasticity in L. gibbosus, with two different patterns of development that can reflect to different allocation of sources as well as different stage of invasion process.
Auteurs du document :
Eva Záhorská, Mária Balážová, Yakuta Bhagat, Gordon H. Copp