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Reproductive biology of Dikerogammarus haemobaphes: an invasive gammarid (Crustacea: Amphipoda) colonizing running waters in Central Europe

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Dikerogammarus haemobaphes is a Ponto-Caspian gammarid that has invaded vast areas in Central and Western Europe. Our paper is a first presentation of its life history features in an invaded region. The study was conducted in the Vistula River in Poland from autumn 2003 to autumn 2005 in two sites differing in hydrological conditions with one being water reservoir. The results showed that the reproductive period lasted 8months from April till October in both sites. Three generations per 1year were observed: autumn (overwintering), spring and summer. Ten cohorts per year were distinguished. The individuals from the reservoir were much bigger than those from the other site. The fecundity of those specimens was also higher and they laid 52 eggs per clutch in average in comparison with 37 eggs in the river itself. The strong relationship between the number of embryos (in developmental stage 2) per clutch and the length of females was noticed. The overall mean egg size of stage 2 of D. haemobaphes was 0.430±0.029mm which is smaller than noted for native species such as Gammarus fossarum. A potentially high reproductive capacity, comparatively small eggs, short time of eggs’ development, fast reaching sexual maturation, short life span, tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions, all promote the invasion of this Ponto-Caspian gammarid in freshwater ecosystems of the temperate climate zone.
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... The demon shrimp has a high potential for invasion (Grabowski et al. 2007a;Bacela et al. 2009;Bacela-Spychalska and Van der Velde 2013). However, another invasive species of the genus Dikerogammarus, the so-called killer shrimp D. villosus, was often considered a more successful invader (Dick et al. 2002;Rewicz et al. 2015;Kobak et al. 2016), attracting more scientific attention than D. haemobaphes. ...
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... One example of just such an invader is Dikerogammarus haemobaphes (Eichwald, 1841), also referred to as the "demon shrimp". D. haemobaphes originates from the Ponto-Caspian region, however the species has been documented to progressively move across much of Central and Western Europe over recent years ( Bacela et al. 2009). In the United Kingdom, it was first recorded in 2012 in the river Severn ( Constable and Birkby 2016;Aldridge 2018), and has since spread rapidly through many canal and river networks across the country (Constable and Birkby 2016). ...
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Dikerogammarus haemobaphes is a freshwater gammarid crustacean native to the Ponto-Caspian region. However, the species is rapidly spreading throughout Western Europe and is classed as a highly invasive species. Here we present a novel eDNA assay aimed at detecting D. haemobaphes and demonstrate its suitability with validation steps conducted in-silico (computer simulations), ex-situ (test of specificity using closely related species) and in-situ (within the field). A survey of freshwater systems in the West-Midlands, United Kingdom, highlighted that D. haemobaphes was present in 26 out of the 39 sites assessed. We conclude that eDNA detection for D. haemobaphes is a promising tool for assessing and mapping the presence/distribution of this invasive amphipod.
... The impact of Ponto-Caspian invasive amphipods on freshwater communities in continental Europe has been widely studied and it is generally agreed that the introduction of Dikerogammarus species has changed species structures across Europe (Dick and Platvoet 2000;Kinzler et al. 2009;MacNeil et al. 2010;Truhlar et al. 2014). The likely reasons for its success in invading new waterways include very high fecundity, early maturity and high reproduction rates (Kley and Maier 2003;Grabowski et al. 2007;Bacela et al. 2009) in comparison to native species such as Gammarus pulex (Linnaeus, 1758). Dikerogammarus are strongly predatory (Kinzler et al. 2009) and tolerant of large ranges in environmental conditions, including temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity (Aldridge 2013). ...
... The impact of Ponto-Caspian invasive amphipods on freshwater communities in continental Europe has been widely studied and it is generally agreed that the introduction of Dikerogammarus species has changed species structures across Europe (Dick and Platvoet 2000;Kinzler et al. 2009;MacNeil et al. 2010;Truhlar et al. 2014). The likely reasons for its success in invading new waterways include very high fecundity, early maturity and high reproduction rates (Kley and Maier 2003;Grabowski et al. 2007;Bacela et al. 2009) in comparison to native species such as Gammarus pulex (Linnaeus, 1758). Dikerogammarus are strongly predatory (Kinzler et al. 2009) and tolerant of large ranges in environmental conditions, including temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity (Aldridge 2013). ...
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