Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Boccardia proboscidea (Polychaete: Spionidae) in the SW Atlantic: how far has the invasion spread?

Abstract

Boccardia proboscidea is an exotic polychaete that was introduced to a Southwestern Atlantic Ocean coastal area of Argentina (Mar del Plata; Province of Buenos Aires). This polychaete proved to be a threat to local diversity as it displaced native species and modified the natural intertidal community structure. However, nothing is known about its latitudinal distribution in the country and the degree of its invasion. It is possible that due to deficiencies in taxonomy and lack of ecological studies, other localities of the Argentine coast were also invaded by this polychaete but have not yet been registered. The goal of the present study was to survey the latitudinal distribution of B. proboscidea in the coastal area of Argentina from 37°S to 54°S. In addition, this study aimed to evaluate the type of substrate colonized, investigate the presence of sewage effluence as a conditional factor for B. proboscidea establishment, and evaluate differences in the composition of species assemblages associated with the intertidal community invaded by the polychaete. Boccardia proboscidea was found latitudinally from 37°S to 47°S. The highest abundance was found on hard substrates and with intertidal sewage effluent. The opportunistic nature (r strategy) of B. proboscidea coupled with a continuous supply of organic matter (sewage effluent) may indicate the mechanism that has led to the success of its introduction into new localities.