The number of non-native species has dramatically increased over the last decades in many aquatic habitats of central Europe. Although the spreading of alien mollusc species can poses a serious threat to many native species, no attempt has been made to assemble and analyse an extensive dataset collected over a long time span. So far, eight non-native species of aquatic molluscs — five gastropods and three bivalves — have been recorded in the wild in the Czech Republic in central Europe. We assembled a dataset consisting of 1,783 sites with the presence of these non-native species recorded between 1891 and 2014. We aimed to explore the time course and spatial pattern of the invasions and to define some of the gross predictors of the occurrence of these species by categorizing their sites based on habitat type, elevation and distance from the nearest large river. We found that most of these species expressed affinities to non-natural standing waters and large rivers. The most invaded parts of the Czech Republic were large lowlands, especially the Elbe River basin. In contrast, hilly and mountain areas were notably less invaded as the number of records sharply decreased towards higher elevations for all studied species except Gyraulus parvus. The highest invasion rate was documented for Physella acuta and Potamopyrgus antipodarum, in contrast to two modern invaders (Menetus dilatatus and Corbicula fluminea) that had a much lower rate of colonisation. However, the other four species showing an intermediate rate of spreading were recorded for the first time both 70 years ago (Dreissena polymorpha and Ferrissia fragilis) and less than 20 years ago (Gyraulus parvus and Sinanodonta woodiana). Large rivers serve as the most important corridors for the spreading of non-native species, with a significant association between the number of non-native species recorded and the distance from the 8th- and 9th-order rivers.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1