Record of Blue tilapia Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner, 1864) in the Eerste River catchment, Western Cape province, South Africa
Oreochromis aureus was imported from Israel into South Africa in 1959 but data on its current status in South Africa are lacking. Genomic DNA was extracted and the COI gene amplified at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity. The identity of the sequences and specimens was determined using the Barcode of Life Data Systems and GenBank. Morphological and genetic assessment demonstrated that 11 specimens collected from two farm dams in the Eerste River System, Western Cape province, were Oreochromis aureus. A MaxEnt model compiled using global distribution, rainfall and temperature data predicted that large areas of southern Africa were climatically suitable for this species, indicating considerable invasion debt in southern Africa. As a result, surveys to assess for the extent of the invasion in South Africa and eradication of existing populations, if feasible, are recommended management actions.
Keywords: COI gene, DNA barcoding, invasion risk, Israeli tilapia, MaxEnt, mitochondrial DNA