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Keywords:

  • invasions;
  • introductions;
  • community change;
  • exotic species;
  • native community

Abstract

  • 1.
    The effect of a newly introduced population of signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) on a riverine invertebrate community in the River Clyde, Scotland, is examined. Five hypotheses related to crayfish impact on the invertebrate community are tested by comparing sites containing signal crayfish with similar sites in the same river which have not yet been colonized.
  • 2.
    The hypothesis that crayfish significantly reduce the total numbers of invertebrates in the community was supported by this study, with invertebrate density in areas containing signal crayfish around 60% of that with no observed crayfish.
  • 3.
    The hypothesis that crayfish presence affects some groups more than others was also supported. Plecoptera, Chironomidae, Diptera and Hirudinea, in particular, showed evidence of reduced species numbers in areas containing crayfish, and Plecoptera, Hirudinea, Tricladida and Hydracarina showed evidence of reduced densities. Community diversity and richness was also lower at sites containing crayfish.
  • 4.
    Neither the hypothesis that overall invertebrate biomass would be lower at sites with crayfish present nor the hypothesis that individual invertebrate size would be lower at sites with crayfish was supported.
  • 5.
    Overall the study indicates that introduced signal crayfish can significantly and fundamentally modify fluvial macroinvertebrate community structure.

Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.