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Škraba Jurlina D., Marić A., Karanović J., Nikolić V., Brkušanin M., Kanjuh T., Mrdak D., Simonović P. 2018. Effect of the introgression of Atlantic brown trout, Salmo trutta, into Adriatic trout, Salmo farioides in a stream at the drainage area of the Adriatic Sea basin of Montenegro. Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 48 (4): 363–372.

Background. The diversity of wild trout stocks in Montenegro is compromised by insufficiently controlled stocking. Adriatic and Mediterranean areas show a high degree of endemism of the salmonid species, with numerous native Salmo taxa described. The invasive effect of brown trout, Salmo trutta Linnaeus, 1758, of the Atlantic haplogroup on the endemic Adriatic trout, Salmo farioides Karaman, 1938, in the drainage area of the Adriatic Sea basin is lower compared to the effect inflicted by S. trutta has on Salmo labrax Pallas, 1814 of the Danubian haplogroup. The presently reported study was intended to describe the genetic structure of the population of Adriatic trout, Salmo farioides, from the Mrtvica River, a right tributary of the Morača River, Montenegro, in order to get an insight into the spread of non-native strains and their introgression into the native Adriatic trout gene pool. 

Materials and methods. Trout specimens sampled from the lower section of the Mrtvica River from 2004 to 2007, and from its upper section in the spring of 2014, were analysed for their mtDNA haplotypes. Nuclear DNA markers (microsatellites, LDH-C1* gene) were also included in genetic analyses since mtDNA is inherited only maternally. After statistical analyses, relations between individuals from the upper and lower Mrtvica River were reconstructed.

Results. Using both LDH-C1* and seven microsatellite loci with several alleles exclusive to S. trutta, an introgression was detected only in the upper reaches of the Mrtvica River, where only stream-dwelling trout form occurs. In the lower reaches no introgression was detected at all, as revealed by the absence of both the Atlantic mitochondrial haplotype and microsatellite alleles exclusive to S. trutta.

Conclusion. The allelic frequency at seven microsatellite loci of Salmo spp. from the two river sections revealed very different population structure, as a consequence of a low rate of gene flow between them. In addition to the physical barrier that prevents Salmo sp. from the lower Mrtvica River to migrate to the upper river section, it seems that the opportunity to mate with the large pool of conspecifics, including lake-dwelling S. farioides (i.e., Salmo cf. dentex), prevents Salmo trutta from surviving at the lower stretch and spread to the rest of the Morača River and Lake Skadar systems.

Keywords: trout, Adriatic Sea basin, stream- and lake-dwelling, mtDNA, microsatellites



DOI: 10.3750/AIEP/02491

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