GIRONA, Spain, April 30 (UPI) — The warmer temperatures associated with climate change could speed the spread of the invasive mosquitofish in northern Europe, scientists in Spain said.
The mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki, is native to the United States and was introduced in Spain in 1921. Since then, it has spread to more than 50 countries on every continent except Antarctica, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology Climate Change said in a release Thursday.
The freshwater fish thrives in Mediterranean rivers, where it displaces small native fish that live in fresh or brackish water.
The mosquitofish has yet to become established in the United Kingdom, Germany and Nordic countries, but that could change as temperatures warm and the fish extends its breeding territory, said Emili Garcia-Berthou, an aquatic researcher at the University of Girona.
“Its distribution is clearly limited by temperature,” Garcia-Berthou said.
In Spain, the mosquitofish has reduced populations of native toothcarp to the point where toothcarp are considered in danger of extinction, Garcia-Berthou said.
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