Invasive alien species have been rising exponentially in the last decades impacting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The soniferous weakfish, Cynoscion regalis, is a recent invasive sciaenid species in the Iberian Peninsula and was first reported in the Tagus estuary in 2015. There is concern about its possible impacts on native species, namely the confamiliar meagre, Argyrosomus regius, as there is overlap in their feeding regime, habitat use, and breeding behaviour. Here, we characterised the sciaenid-like sounds recently recorded in the Tagus estuary and showed that they are made by weakfish as they have similar numbers of pulses and pulse periods to the sounds made by captive breeding weakfish. We further demonstrate that breeding grunts from weakfish and the native sciaenid, recorded either in captivity or Tagus estuary, differ markedly in sound duration, number of pulses and pulse period in the two species, but overlap in their spectral features. Importantly, these differences are easily detected through visual and aural inspections of the recordings, making acoustic recognition easy even for the non-trained person. We propose that passive acoustic monitoring can be a cost-effective tool for in situ mapping of weakfish outside its natural distribution range and an invaluable tool for early detection and to monitor its expansion.

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