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Invertebrate communities associated with a native (Vallisneria americana) and an alien (Trapa natans) macrophyte in a large river


David L. Strayer, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, PO Box AB, Millbrook, NY 12545, U.S.A. E-mail:


1. We used a corer and a Downing box sampler to sample macroinvertebrates living on and beneath the introduced Trapa natans and the native Vallisneria americana in the freshwater tidal Hudson River, New York.

2. Densities of macroinvertebrates were higher in Trapa than in Vallisneria, and higher in the interior of plant beds than at their edges. These effects were largely a result of high plant biomass in Trapa beds and in bed interiors (the plants have similar surface area per unit mass).

3. The composition of both epiphytic and benthic macroinvertebrates differed distinctly between Trapa and Vallisneria, and also seasonally.

4. These compositional differences were not easily interpretable as rising from possible differences in oxygen concentrations, fish predation, or water circulation in the two macrophytes.

5. Sida crystallina (Cladocera) collected from Trapa contained more haemoglobin than those collected from Vallisneria.

6. The replacement of Vallisneria by Trapa in the Hudson probably increased system-wide biodiversity and food for fish, although macroinvertebrates in Trapa beds may not be readily available to fish because of low oxygen concentration there.