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Potential impacts of invasive crayfish on native benthic fish: shelter use and agonistic behaviour

  • Spinycheek crayfish (Faxonius limosus) and signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) are successful North American invasive crayfish species distributed throughout Europe. Both species compete with native benthic fish for shelter. In a laboratory approach, we assessed competition for shelter and antagonistic interactions between these invasive crayfish species and the native benthic fish species, stone loach (Barbatula barbatula) and bullhead (Cottus gobio). This allows for studying the potential impacts of invasive crayfish on native benthic fish. Spinycheek crayfish and signal crayfish were able to gain control of the shelter and could successfully displace both benthic fish species. For stone loach, the presence of crayfish significantly decreased their shelter use and caused several behavioural changes such as reduced activity and increased hiding behaviour outside the shelter. Although the shelter use by bullheads was not reduced, they displayed similar behavioural changes, if less intense. Invasive crayfish species showed remarkable combative interactions against both species of benthic fishes, evidenced by the high number of aggressive interactions, especially concerning stone loach. Our results highlight the pronounced dominance of invasive crayfish over benthic fish in terms of shelter competition and aggressive interactions under laboratory conditions, which consequently might promote the latter’s exposure to predation.

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Author:Essmat Mohammed, Rahma Amen, Hoda M. Abdelwahab, Carola Winkelmann
Parent Title (English):NeoBiota
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2023/06/06
Date of publication:2023/05/02
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Release Date:2023/06/06
Tag:Antagonistic interactions; Barbatula barbatula; Cottus gobio; Faxonius limosus; invasive crayfish
First page:131
Last page:153
Institutes:Fachbereich 3 / Institut für Integrierte Naturwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG