Abstract Rapid adaptation to global change can counter vulnerability of species to population declines and extinction. Theoretically, under such circumstances both genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity can maintain population fitness, but empirical support for this is currently limited. Here, we aim to characterize the role of environmental and genetic diversity, and their prior evolutionary history (via haplogroup profiles) in shaping patterns of life history traits during biological invasion. Data were derived from both genetic and life history traits including a morphological analysis of 29 native and invasive populations of topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva coupled with climatic variables from each location. General additive models were constructed to explain distribution of somatic growth rate (SGR) data across native and invasive ranges, with model selection performed using Akaike's information criteria. Genetic and environmental drivers that structured the life history of populations in their native range were less influential in their invasive populations. For some vertebrates at least, fitness-related trait shifts do not seem to be dependent on the level of genetic diversity or haplogroup makeup of the initial introduced propagule, nor of the availability of local environmental conditions being similar to those experienced in their native range. As long as local conditions are not beyond the species physiological threshold, its local establishment and invasive potential are likely to be determined by local drivers, such as density-dependent effects linked to resource availability or to local biotic resistance.