Using species-diagnostic SNPs to detail the distribution and dynamics of hybridized black bass populations in southern Africa

  • John S. HargroveEmail author
  • Olaf L. F. Weyl
  • Honggang Zhao
  • Eric Peatman
  • James D. Austin
Original Paper


The widespread introduction of Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) and Florida Bass (M. floridanus) to establish sport fisheries represents a significant conservation concern given their role as apex predators and their ability to alter community diversity and species abundance. In regions like southern Africa, which has both high levels of aquatic endemism and imperilment, limiting the spread of invasive predators is a primary goal of current alien species legislation. Here, we applied two panels of species-diagnostic SNPs for a total of 60 markers to map the distribution of Largemouth Bass, Florida Bass, and their hybrids in 13 southern African water bodies. Using Bayesian clustering algorithms we documented the introgression of Florida Bass alleles across a broad geographic range, from the Cape Floristic region of South Africa to Mozambique. Several populations previously considered pure Largemouth Bass based on mitochondrial DNA sequences were found to consist exclusively of hybrids. Samples collected from Lake Chicamba, which was initially established with pure Largemouth Bass, are now almost exclusively comprised of Florida Bass alleles (89.3 % Florida Bass). The estimated hybrid class of sampled fish (e.g., F1 hybrid, pure Largemouth Bass, pure Florida Bass) showed that with few exceptions, populations were dominated by a single hybrid class. The present work provides enhanced resolution of the distribution and dynamics of Florida Bass, Largemouth Bass, and their hybrids in southern Africa.


Micropterus Largemouth bass Hybridization Introgression Invasive fish 



We thank Neil Deacon for his help with planning and execution of field sampling. Financial assistance for JSH was provided by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida (UF), the UF Center for African Studies, the Jeanne and Hunt Davis Graduate Research Award, and the UF International Center Research Abroad for Graduate Students Program. We acknowledge use of infrastructure and equipment provided by the SAIAB Research and Molecular Genetics Platforms and the funding channeled through the NRF-SAIAB Institutional Support system. This study was partially funded by the National Research Foundation—South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Ecology, Grant No. 110507).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife Ecology and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)GrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.DST/NRF Research Chair in Inland Fisheries and Freshwater EcologySouth African Institute for Aquatic BiodiversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Center for Invasion BiologySAIABGrahamstownSouth Africa
  5. 5.School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  6. 6.Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  7. 7.Pacific States Marine Fisheries CommissionEagleUSA

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