Genetic variability of the Lessepsian migrant mussel Brachidontes pharaonis (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in Tunisia
The present study used two mitochondrial markers (16S rRNA and COI) to assess the genetic diversity of a newly founded Lessepsian migrant mussel, Brachidontes pharaonis, in Tunisian waters. The species appears to be restricted to only one population in Rades Harbour, in the northern part of the country. Phylogenetic analyses revealed the monophyly of B. pharaonis in Tunisia. Both molecular markers revealed high genetic variability of the B. pharaonis population. Haplotype networks and demographic analyses confirmed the recent expansion events within this population. Multiple human-mediated introduction events involving several founder populations and intensive population growth rates are probably the main causes of the high polymorphism observed within this invasive mollusc.
Keywords: founder effect, invasive species, Mediterranean Sea, mitochondrial genes, phylogenetic trees, population genetics