Establishing the identity and assessing the dynamics of invasion in the Mediterranean Sea by the dusky sweeper, Pempheris rhomboidea Kossmann & Räuber, 1877 (Pempheridae, Perciformes)


Azzurro, Ernesto
Goren, Menachem
Diamant, Ariel
Galil, Bella
Bernardi, Giacomo

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© 2014, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. We investigate the genetic diversity of the sweeper Pempheris, a biological invader that entered the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal. Two mitochondrial regions and one nuclear region were sequenced and topological reconstructions investigated from samples collected from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and three Indo-Pacific localities. Morphological and molecular analyses assigned samples from this study to three distinct species of Pempheris in the Red Sea (P. flavicyla, P. rhomboidea, and P. tominagai) and confirmed a misidentification of the Mediterranean sweepers, previously identified as P. vanicolensis and now recognized as P.rhomboidea. Pempheris rhomboidea clustered in a single clade including specimens from Madagascar and South Africa. Similarly to most other studied Lessepsian bioinvaders, no evidence of a genetic bottleneck in its invasive Mediterranean population was found. Yet, lowered gene flow levels were observed between Red Sea and Mediterranean populations in this species. These findings highlight the importance of molecular tools to the proper identification of morphologically challenging alien organisms and contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of Lessepsian invasions.

Azzurro E, Goren M, Diamant A, Galil B, Bernardi G (2014) Establishing the identity and assessing the dynamics of invasion in the Mediterranean Sea by the dusky sweeper, Pempheris rhomboidea Kossmann & Räuber, 1877 (Pempheridae, Perciformes). Biological Invasions 17: 815–826. Available:

We thank Jack Randall and two anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript. We thank Michelle Gaither for providing samples of Pempheris from Saudi Arabia, Serge Planes for sequences of P. oualensis from the Moorea Biocode project, Eric Hoarau for help in the field in Europa and Dr. Marco Milazzo for help in the field in Egypt. We thank Nir Stern for his assistance in the molecular study of part of the Red Sea samples. We thank Michael Berumen, Joseph DiBattista, Tane Sinclair-Taylor, the Captain and Crew of the RV Thuwal, and personnel at KAUST for support and organization of a research cruise in Central Saudi Arabia, and Luiz Rocha, Darren Coker, and Diego Lozano-Cortés for help in the field and collection of specimens during that cruise. We acknowledge Prof. Stefano Piraino (University of Salento, Italy) for helping and advising us during the organization of fieldwork. The publication of this paper was supported by CONISMA, the Italian National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences, which received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) for the project VECTORS (http://​www.​marine-vectors.​eu). and by the University of California Santa Cruz. This paper stems from the International workshop MOLTOOLS (Molecular Tools for Monitoring Marine Invasive Species), held in Lecce, Italy, in September 2012.

Springer Nature

Biological Invasions


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