Genetic diversity of native and introduced populations of the invasive house crow (Corvus splendens) in Asia and Africa

Urszula Krzemińska, Robyn Wilson, Beng Kah Song, Sampath Seneviratne, Sharif Akhteruzzaman, Joanna Gruszczyńska, Wiesław Świderek, Teh Ser Huy, Christopher M. Austin, Sadequr Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The common house crow (Corvus splendens) is one of the best known and most wide spread species of the family Corvidae. It is a successful invasive species able to exploit urban environments, well removed from its natural distribution. It is considered a pest as it attains high population densities, can cause serious economic losses and has many adverse effects on native fauna and flora, including predation, competitive displacement and disease transmission. Little genetic research on the house crow has been undertaken so we have only a limited understanding of its natural genetic population structure and invasion history. In this study, we employ microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers to assess genetic diversity, phylogeography and population structure of C. splendens within its native range represented by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and introduced range represented by Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya and South Africa. We found high levels of genetic diversity in some of the invasive populations for which multiple invasions are proposed. The lowest genetic diversity was found for the intentionally introduced population in Selangor, Malaysia. Sri Lanka is a possible source population for Malaysia Selangor consistent with a documented introduction over 100 years ago, with port cities within the introduced range revealing possible presence of migrants from other unsampled locations. We demonstrate the power of the approach of using multiple molecular markers to untangle patterns of invasion, provide insights into population structure and phylogeographic relationships and illustrate how historical processes may have contributed to making this species such a successful invader.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1867-1881
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Corvus splendens
  • Genetic diversity
  • Global invasion
  • House crow
  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondrial DNA

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