Life-history variability of two non-native centrarchids, pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, was evaluated in three stream stretches of the lower River Guadiana drainage (south-west Iberian Peninsula) with different degrees of regulated flows. Abundance, condition and population structure differed among populations for both species, but invasion success was lower in the least regulated river. Lepomis gibbosus were abundant and had multiple age classes in the three river sites, whereas M. salmoides were less abundant and mainly represented by young-of-the-year fish. Juvenile growth in L. gibbosus was similar in all three populations, though longevity was slightly greater in the population from the River Guadiana mainstream. Lepomis gibbosus exhibited a long reproductive season, but the duration of season, size at maturity and reproductive effort varied among populations. The life-history differences found demonstrate the importance of species adaptation to local conditions which might favour their invasion success. Lepomis gibbosus were more adaptable and resilient to local conditions, whereas M. salmoides seemed dependent on reservoirs and large rivers for maintenance of riverine populations.