Publication details

Early life stages of exotics gobiids as new host for unionid glochidia

Investor logo


Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Freshwater Biology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords fish larvae; Gobiidae; host-parasite interaction; invasive species; Unionidae
Description Introduction of an exotic species has the potential to alter interactions between fish and bivalves; yet our knowledge in this field is limited, not least by lack of studies involving fish early life stages (ELS). Here, for the first time, we examine glochidial infection of fish ELS by native and exotic bivalves in a system recently colonised by two exotic gobiid species (round goby Neogobius melanostomus, tubenose goby Proterorhinus semilunaris) and the exotic Chinese pond mussel Anodonta woodiana. The ELS of native fish were only rarely infected by native glochidia. By contrast, exotic fish displayed significantly higher native glochidia prevalence and mean intensity of infection than native fish (17 versus 2% and 3.3 versus 1.4 respectively), inferring potential for a parasite spillback/dilution effect. Exotic fish also displayed a higher parasitic load for exotic glochidia, inferring potential for invasional meltdown. Compared to native fish, presence of gobiids increased the total number of glochidia transported downstream on drifting fish by approximately 900%. We show that gobiid ELS are a novel, numerous and attractive' resource for unionid glochidia. As such, unionids could negatively affect gobiid recruitment through infection-related mortality of gobiid ELS and/or reinforce downstream unionid populations through transport on drifting gobiid ELS. These implications go beyond what is suggested in studies of older life stages, thereby stressing the importance of an holistic ontogenetic approach in ecological studies.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info