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AB 6:15-24 (2009)  -  DOI:

Predation by crustaceans on native and non-native Baltic clams

Gunilla Ejdung1,*, Elsina Flach1, Lars Byrén2, Herman Hummel3

1Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
2Marina Iaröverket, Stocksunds hamn, 182 78 Stocksund, Sweden
3Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Korringaweg 7, 4401 NT Yerseke, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: We studied the effect of crustacean predators on native/non-native Macoma balthica bivalves in aquarium experiments. North Sea M. balthica (NS Macoma) were recently observed in the southern Baltic Sea. They differ genetically and in terms of morphology, behaviour and evolutionary history from Baltic Sea M. balthica (BS Macoma), and this may affect predation pressure and community structure. We hypothesised that predators consume more of the prey they co-exist with. NS Macoma and BS Macoma were exposed to crustacean predators common in the North Sea (Carcinus maenas and Crangon crangon) and in the Baltic Sea (C. crangon and Saduria entomon). Contrary to our hypotheses, the North Sea predators ate more BS Macoma, and S. entomon ate more NS Macoma. The crush-limited C. maenas preyed more on globular BS Macoma, whereas S. entomon, which do not crush but pry open the bivalve shell, ate more NS Macoma, which have a lighter (thus probably thinner) shell than BS Macoma. When NS and BS Macoma were offered together, BS Crangon ate more NS Macoma. We also studied BS Crangon consumption of M. balthica to assess whether sizes offered fall within the size spectrum that C. crangon can eat. Small (20 to 40 mm long), medium (40 to 50 mm) and large (50 to 60 mm) C. crangon especially ate small M. balthica. Differences in shape, size and meat/shell weight ratio between the BS and NS Macoma partly explained the differences in the susceptibility to predation by native and non-native predators.

KEY WORDS: Native · Non-native · Predator · Prey · Baltic Sea · North Sea · Macoma balthica

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Cite this article as: Ejdung G, Flach E, Byrén L, Hummel H (2009) Predation by crustaceans on native and non-native Baltic clams. Aquat Biol 6:15-24.

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