New data on the taxonomic status and distribution of Gambusia sp. in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • Nediljko Landeka Public Health Institute of the Istrian Region
  • Martina Podnar Croatian Natural History Museum
  • Dušan J. Jelić Croatian Institute for Biodiversity



Background and Purpose: In the early 20th century, two native North American poeciliid species Gambusia holbrooki and Gambusia affinis were introduced to Europe as a mosquito control agent. The first introduction to Istria from Italy in 1924 was followed by several independent introductions and massive translocations. Presently, the distribution of these two species in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina) is still largely unknown and they are often confused. The purpose of this study was to determine the taxonomic status of individual Gambusia populations and to shed more light on the distribution and phylogeographic patterns of these invasive species in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Materials and Methods: All new and literature data were plotted
together to obtain the overall distribution of Gambusia sp. in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The samples collected across this range were analysed meristically and by means of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) gene sequence analysis to ascertain the true taxonomic status of the populations. For phylogeographic analysis, the cytb sequences from this study were combined with previously published data.

Results and Conclusions: The methods only confirmed the presence of G. holbrooki. G. holbrooki is continuously distributed across the entire Mediterranean biogeographical region in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two different mitochondrial cytb haplotypes were found: the widely spread Hol1 haplotype and haplotype Hol5 that in Europe was previously found only in France and Greece. This suggests that G. holbrooki populations in the region originated from different stocks.


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