DAO 106:241-253 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02658

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

J. Bojko1,2, P. D. Stebbing1, K. S. Bateman1,3, J. E. Meatyard4, K. Bacela-Spychalska5, A. M. Dunn2, G. D. Stentiford1,3,*

1Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Weymouth Laboratory, The Nothe, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8UB, UK
2Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Clarendon Way, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
3European Union Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth Laboratory, The Nothe, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8UB, UK
4Biology Department, Anglian Water Central Laboratory, Kingfisher Way, Hinchinbrook Business Park, Huntingdon, PE29 6FL, UK
5Department of Invertebrate Zoology & Hydrobiology, University of Lodz, Banacha 12/16 90-237 Lodz, Poland
*Corresponding author. Email:

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.


KEY WORDS: Amphipod · Non-native invasive species · Biodiversity · Virus · Microsporidia · Parasite · Commensal


Full text in pdf format  
Cite this article as: Bojko J, Stebbing PD, Bateman KS, Meatyard JE, Bacela-Spychalska K, Dunn AM, Stentiford GD (2013) Baseline histopathological survey of a recently invading island population of ‘killer shrimp’, Dikerogammarus villosus . Dis Aquat Org 106:241-253. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02658

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -