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      Quantifying the invasiveness of species

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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            Introduced species and their missing parasites.

            Damage caused by introduced species results from the high population densities and large body sizes that they attain in their new location. Escape from the effects of natural enemies is a frequent explanation given for the success of introduced species. Because some parasites can reduce host density and decrease body size, an invader that leaves parasites behind and encounters few new parasites can experience a demographic release and become a pest. To test whether introduced species are less parasitized, we have compared the parasites of exotic species in their native and introduced ranges, using 26 host species of molluscs, crustaceans, fishes, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Here we report that the number of parasite species found in native populations is twice that found in exotic populations. In addition, introduced populations are less heavily parasitized (in terms of percentage infected) than are native populations. Reduced parasitization of introduced species has several causes, including reduced probability of the introduction of parasites with exotic species (or early extinction after host establishment), absence of other required hosts in the new location, and the host-specific limitations of native parasites adapting to new hosts.
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              Genetic variation increases during biological invasion by a Cuban lizard.

              A genetic paradox exists in invasion biology: how do introduced populations, whose genetic variation has probably been depleted by population bottlenecks, persist and adapt to new conditions? Lessons from conservation genetics show that reduced genetic variation due to genetic drift and founder effects limits the ability of a population to adapt, and small population size increases the risk of extinction. Nonetheless, many introduced species experiencing these same conditions during initial introductions persist, expand their ranges, evolve rapidly and become invasive. To address this issue, we studied the brown anole, a worldwide invasive lizard. Genetic analyses indicate that at least eight introductions have occurred in Florida from across this lizard's native range, blending genetic variation from different geographic source populations and producing populations that contain substantially more, not less, genetic variation than native populations. Moreover, recently introduced brown anole populations around the world originate from Florida, and some have maintained these elevated levels of genetic variation. Here we show that one key to invasion success may be the occurrence of multiple introductions that transform among-population variation in native ranges to within-population variation in introduced areas. Furthermore, these genetically variable populations may be particularly potent sources for introductions elsewhere. The growing problem of invasive species introductions brings considerable economic and biological costs. If these costs are to be mitigated, a greater understanding of the causes, progression and consequences of biological invasions is needed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                April 17 2014
                April 17 2014
                : 21
                : 7-27
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.21.5310
                © 2014
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