Assessment of invasiveness potential of Pterois miles by the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit

Assessment of invasiveness potential of Pterois miles by the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit

Halit Filiz, A. Serhan Tarkan, Gökçen Bilge, Sercan Yapıcı

Faculty of Fisheries, Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, Kötekli, Muğla, TURKEY

Abstract

Risk screening tools to identify species with a high or low risk of invasiveness are being increasingly used for effective management purposes. Whilst non-native freshwater fish species have been studied more widely, there is little effort for implementing the risk-screening tools for Lessepsian or invasive marine fish species in the Mediterranean. The aim of the present study was therefore to assess the invasiveness risk of Pterois miles in the eastern Mediterranean using the recently-developed Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK). Calculated Basic Risk Assessment (BRA= 45.5) and Climate Change Assessment (CCA= 57.5) scores indicated a high risk of invasiveness of P. miles for the Mediterranean. The factors increasing overall AS-ISK scores were; high climate match, tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions, flexibility in utilising food resources, high fecundity, small size at maturity, high reproductive effort and high invasiveness potential elsewhere while factors decreasing scores were; no hybridization with native fish, no parental care, and no data about parasite transmission. This information is expected to allow managers and agencies that are responsible for risk assessment and management of P. miles to perform a better decision-making.

Keywords: AS-ISK, Lessepsian fish, biological invasion, Mediterranean