The invasion history of the exotic freshwater zooplankter Daphnia lumholtzi (Cladocera, Crustacea) in North America: a genetic analysis


Daphnia lumholtzi is a planktonic crustacean native to subtropical regions in Africa, Asia and Australia. Since its invasion to the southern USA in ~1990 it has spread across North America as far north as the Laurentian Great Lakes. We assessed invasion history using microsatellite makers and to explore the influence of mean annual temperature on the genetic structure along a latitudinal gradient in North America. Genotypic data were obtained from 9 microsatellite markers for 178 individuals from 13 populations (eight populations introduced to North America and five populations in the native range). Pairwise Fst values as well as Bayesian clustering showed a strong subdivision between native and introduced populations. Bayesian clustering identified multiple genetic clusters in recently invaded locations, suggestive of multiple invasions from various sources, including Asia and Africa. Using variation partitioning, we determined the amount of variation for genetic clusters of populations in the invaded range due to mean annual air temperature and the year of first detection. The results point to a primary introduction into the southern range of North America, with a subsequent northward expansion, and multiple introductions possibly from both the native range and by secondary spread from previously-invaded locations. Separate analysis of genetic clusters within the invaded range suggests additional effects of temperature conditions on geographic genetic structure, possibly as a consequence of D. lumholtzi's tropical origin.



Document Type




biological invasion, macrogeographic genetic structure, range expansion, zooplankton, population genetics, microsatellites

Publication Date


Journal Title

Biological invasions