Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Erickson RA, Thomson HM, Kageyama S, Andriacchi GM, Patiño R, Amberg JJ. 2023. Assessing the suitability of YY males and ZZ females as an invasive species population control method across life histories. Biological Invasions, 25:3737–3751.


Natural resource managers use tools to control invasive species. In theory, stocking YY males or ZZ females would allow managers to skew sex ratios until populations collapse. In combination with other suppression methods, such as removal, this approach could be incorporated into Integrated Pest Management plans. For example, fishery managers have stocked YY males to control isolated non-native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations. However, life histories and demographic factors (e.g., lifespans) vary across species and could affect the feasibility of skewing sex ratios as an effective control strategy for a given population. Likewise, some species may have sex determinations that do not allow population control through sex-skewing methods. We compared five representative aquatic invasive species with global invasion ranges for potential control by skewing the sex ratio through closed population simulations: red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). We determined that Nile tilapia, red swamp crayfish, and zebra mussels would be the most suitable to control through skewing the sex ratio assuming appropriate sex determination exists in the species. Lake trout could be eliminated by stocking YY males but would require either long stocking periods or high stocking numbers because of the long lifespan of the species. Silver carp populations were more difficult to crash because they live longer and produce many recruits. Broadly, these patterns demonstrated that short lived species lend themselves to control by skewing the sex ratio.