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Body size and invasion success in marine bivalves


  • Editor, F. Boero

Kaustuv Roy E-mail:


The role of body size in marine bivalve invasions has been the subject of debate. Roy et al. found that large-bodied species of marine bivalves were more likely to be successful invaders, consistent with patterns seen during Pleistocene climatic change, but Miller et al. argued that such selectivity was largely driven by the inclusion of mariculture species in the analysis and that size-selectivity was absent outside of mariculture introductions. Here we use data on non-mariculture species from the north-eastern Pacific coast and from a global species pool to test the original hypothesis of Roy et al. that range limits of larger bivalves are more fluid than those of smaller species. First, we test the hypothesis that larger bivalve species are more successful than small species in expanding their geographical ranges following introduction into new regions. Second, we compare body sizes of indigenous and non-indigenous species for 299 of the 303 known intertidal and shelf species within the marine bivalve clade that contains the greater number of non-mariculture invaders, the Mytilidae. The results from both tests provide additional support for the view that body size plays an important role in mediating invasion success in marine bivalves, in contrast to Miller et al. Thus range expansions in Recent bivalves are consistent with patterns seen in Pleistocene faunas despite the many differences in the mechanisms.