California roach (Hesperoleucus symmetricus) in the Eel River of northwestern California: native or introduced?

  • Andrew P. KinzigerEmail author
  • Rodney J. Nakamoto
  • Andy Aguilar
  • Bret C. Harvey


To explore the history of California roach (Hesperoleucus symmetricus) in the Eel River, we compiled mitochondrial DNA data for the putatively introduced Eel River population and comparative collections from throughout the native range. Consistent with an introduction scenario, we found that: 1) one haplotype occurred at high frequency in the Eel River, Russian River and Clear Lake populations, making the Russian River and Clear Lake likely source areas, and 2) the introduced population exhibited reduced haplotype diversity in comparison to populations from the native range. However, we also detected four private haplotypes in the putatively introduced population, despite examining 269 individuals from the likely source areas. Extrapolation of the haplotype richness of the likely source population suggested that even with the large sample size, many haplotypes in the source population remained uncollected. The most parsimonious conclusion of our results is a recent introduction of a small number of California roach to the Eel River of California from a nearby drainage. This result aligns with findings for two other California cyprinids introduced into the Eel River from adjacent drainages, Sacramento pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus grandis) and speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus).


Invasion genetics Mitochondrial DNA Genetic diversity Introduced species California roach Hesperoleucus symmetricus 



We thank Jason White, Michael Hellmair, Ryan Whitmore, Shawn Chase, Mike Sugars, Michael O’Heurta, Tom Kisanuki, and Bill Poytress for providing specimens or assisting with the collection of specimens. Procedures used in this paper followed guidelines for the use of fishes in research developed jointly by the American Fisheries Society, American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, and American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries BiologyHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Forest ServicePacific Southwest Research StationArcataUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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