Inference of local invasion pathways in two invasive crayfish species displaying contrasting genetic patterns.
The efficient management of invasive alien species (IAS) requires the identification of their introduction pathways. Genetic assessments have proven useful to inform invasion pathways at large (national to worldwide) scales, but studies at local scales are still rare, despite their importance for guiding management. In this study, genetic analyses were used to identify local invasion pathways of two invasive crayfish species (the spiny-cheek crayfish Faxonius limosus and the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii) in a dense network of artificial lakes. We first characterized the spatial patterns of genetic variability, effective population sizes (Ne) and among-lakes recent migration events for each species using neutral microsatellite markers. We then identified the environmental factors affecting genetic variability and inferred the potential local invasion pathways. Results revealed different patterns of genetic variability between the two species: F. limosus displayed very low levels of genetic diversity, Ne and spatial structuring compared to P. clarkii, which displayed high genetic diversity, Ne and spatial genetic structuring. We also demonstrated context-dependent effects of different environmental factors (fishery management, spatial distribution and lake size) on genetic variability indices. We did not identify local invasion pathways for F. limosus due to limited genetic variability, likely caused by a strong founder effect and potential parthenogenetic reproduction. Contrastingly, multiple invasion pathways (release, contaminant, unaided/corridor spread and stowaway) were identified for P. clarkii. Synthesis and applications. Although limited in some particular cases (e.g. for species having experienced strong shaping events and/or displaying asexual reproductive modes), neutral genetic variation assessments can provide important insights for inferring local invasion pathways in complex landscapes for invasive alien species displaying short generation times and complex invasion histories.