Invasive zebra mussels (Driessena polymorpha) and Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) survive gut passage of migratory fish species: implications for dispersal

Author: Gatlin, M.R., Shoup, D.E., and J.M. Long
Year: 2013
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1007/s10530-012-0372-0

Type: Journal Article
Topic: Dispersal



Abstract. The introduction and spread of invasive species is of great concern to natural resource managers in the United States. To effectively control the spread of these species, managers must be aware of the multitude of dispersal methods used by the organisms. We investigated the potential for survival through the gut of a migrating fish (blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus) as a dispersal mechanism for two invasive bivalves: zebra mussel (Driessena polymorpha) and Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea). Blue catfish (N = 62) were sampled over several months from Sooner Lake, Oklahoma, transported to a laboratory and held in individual tanks for 48 h. All fecal material was collected and inspected for live mussels. Survival was significantly related to water temperature in the lake at the time of collection, with no mussels surviving above 21.1 C, whereas 12 % of zebra mussels (N = 939) and 39 % of Asian clams (N = 408) consumed in cooler water survived gut passage. This research demonstrates the potential for blue catfish to serve as a dispersal vector for invasive bivalves at low water temperatures.

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