Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasion of Finnish inland waters by the alien moss animal Pectinatella magnifica Leidy, 1851 and associated potential risks.

Abstract

Introduced alien species bring potential adverse impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. International shipping is an important vector for such unintentional introductions in aquatic environments. Therefore, in addition to climate change and eutrophication, increasing international shipping may enhance the spread of alien species into areas which have not previously been considered prone to alien invasions. One example of such development might be the recent invasion of the moss animal Pectinatella magnifica into Finnish inland waters, which are generally considered to be hostile to alien species. We took advantage of observations made by the general public and recorded by environmental authorities to describe the invasion history of the species in Finland. The records of P. magnifica were almost exclusively from the Vuoksi watercourse, where the species was most likely introduced by international shipping ca 10-15 years ago. The species occurred mainly in the vicinity of ports of international shipping, but was also abundant in an area with only domestic cargo transport. Only one confirmed observation in Lake Kirkkojärvi was from outside the Vuoksi watercourse. Most colonies were found attached to landing stages or submerged, relatively rigid water plants, and the species seemed to avoid less rigid water plants, such as water lilies. Once established, the species may spread by vectors such as recreational boating or water birds and fish. The species poses some risks to the ecosystem, including a risk to farmed and wild salmonid fish by serving as a potential host for the myxozoan endoparasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, the causative agent for proliferative kidney disease (PKD), known to be detrimental for salmonid fish.