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Pilferer, murderer of innocents or prey? The potential impact of killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) on crayfish

  • Roje, Sara1
  • Švagrová, Kateřina1
  • Veselý, Lukáš1
  • Sentis, Arnaud2
  • Kouba, Antonín1
  • Buřič, Miloš1
  • 1 University of South Bohemia in České Budejovice, Zátiší 728/II, Vodňany, 389 25, Czech Republic , Vodňany (Czechia)
  • 2 INRAE, Aix Marseille Univ., UMR RECOVER, 3275 route Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence, 13182, France , Aix-en-Provence (France)
Published Article
Aquatic Sciences
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Oct 15, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s00027-020-00762-8
Springer Nature


Freshwater ecosystems worldwide are facing the establishment of non-native species, which, in certain cases, exhibit invasive characteristics. The impacts of invaders on native communities are often detrimental, yet, the number and spread of non-native invasive species is increasing. This is resulting in novel and often unexpected combinations of non-native and native species in natural communities. While the impact of invaders on native species is increasingly well-documented, the interactions of non-native invaders with other non-native invaders are less studied. We assessed the potential of an invasive amphipod, the killer shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus (Sowinsky, 1894), to cope with other established invaders in European waters: North American crayfish of the Astacidae family—represented by signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana, 1852), and the Cambaridae family—represented by marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017. The main goal of this study was to investigate if killer shrimp, besides their role as prey of crayfish, can significantly influence their stocks by predating upon their eggs, hatchlings and free-moving early juveniles. Our results confirmed that killer shrimp can predate on crayfish eggs and hatchlings even directly from females abdomens where they are incubated and protected. As marbled crayfish have smaller and thinner egg shells as well as smaller juveniles than signal crayfish, they were more predated upon by killer shrimp than were signal crayfish. These results confirmed that the invasive killer shrimp can feed on different developmental stages of larger freshwater crustaceans and possibly other aquatic organisms.

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