Effect of an invasive crab upon a marine fishery: green crab,
Carcinus maenas, predation upon a venerid clam, Katelysia scalarina, in Tasmania (Australia)
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Walton, WC and Mackinnon, CJ and Rodriguez, LF and Proctor, C and Ruiz, GM, Effect of an invasive crab upon a marine fishery: green crab,
Carcinus maenas, predation upon a venerid clam, Katelysia scalarina, in Tasmania (Australia), Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 272, (2) pp. 171-189. ISSN 0022-0981 (2002) [Refereed Article]
Nonindigenous species are increasingly recognized as altering marine and estuarine communities, causing significant changes in abundance and distribution of native species. Such effects are of particular concern to coastal fisheries. We experimentally determined the effect of the nonindigenous European green crab, Carcinus maenas, upon the stepped venerid clam, Katelysia scalarina, the basis for a fledgling clam fishery in Tasmania, Australia. First, we observed a trend of decreased juvenile (< 13-mm shell length or SL) abundance of K. scalarina at sites with C. maenas relative to those without this invasive predator. Additionally, relative predation intensity on these juveniles was significantly higher in invaded areas. To better understand the dynamics of predation by this invader, we conducted a number of manipulative experiments. In cage experiments testing per capita predation rates, we found that: (1) of the various sizes of C. maenas, large C. maenas were the most significant predators; (2) the smallest size class of K. scalarina tested (6-12-mm SL) was preferred by C. maenas; (3) C. maenas had much higher predation rates than any native predator tested; and (4) while the native shore crab, Paragrapsus gaimardii, was found to have a constant predation rate over an eightfold range of densities of juvenile K. scalarina (16-128 individuals·m-2), C. maenas significantly increased its per capita predation with increasing prey density. Notably, in open field plots at a site where C. maenas was abundant, predation was constant over the range of tested prey densities. We predict, therefore, that the invasion of C. maenas will have significant negative consequences for the Tasmanian K. scalarina fishery. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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