Baseline histopathological survey of a recently invading island population of ‘killer shrimp’, Dikerogammarus villosus

Jamie Bojko, Paul Stebbing, Kelly Bateman, James Meatyard, Karolina Bacela-Spychalska, Alison Dunn, Grant Stentiford

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    ABSTRACT: Dikerogammarus villosus, an invasive amphipod, has recently been detected in UK
    freshwaters. To assess the potential for pathogen introduction with the invader, a year-long
    histopathology survey of the D. villosus population inhabiting the initial site of detection (Grafham
    Water, Cambridgeshire, UK) was conducted. Additional samples were collected from 2 other subsequently
    identified populations within the UK (Cardiff Bay and Norfolk Broads), and from
    established populations in France (River Rhine) and Poland (River Vistula). The data revealed a
    range of pathogens and commensals. Several pathogens occurring within continental populations
    were not present within the UK populations. Microsporidian parasites and a novel viral pathogen
    were amongst those not observed in the UK. The absence of these pathogens at UK sites may therefore
    impart significant survival advantages to D. villosus over native fauna, thereby increasing its
    success as an invader. The contrast in pathogen profile between UK and continental-invasive populations
    of D. villosus provides preliminary evidence for so-called ‘enemy release’ in UK populations
    of D. villosus and is suggestive of single-point introductions, rather than continual incursion events
    as previously observed throughout its continental invasive range. This baseline survey provides important
    data on the pathogen and commensal profile of a high-impact, invasive species early in its
    invasion history of the UK. It can be utilised to assess potential for temporal pathogen acquisition by
    non-native invasive aquatic species and to investigate competitive advantages placed upon this invader
    due to absence of important pathogens experienced within its native range.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-253
    JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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