Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Aggressive interactions between the invasive anemone Anemonia alicemartinae and the native anemone Phymactis papillosa.

Abstract

The distribution range expansion of species mediated by natural or anthropic mechanisms is one of the main causes of changes in biodiversity patterns. Anemonia alicemartinae is a cryptogenic species found along the coasts of the Southeast Pacific Ocean. This species has expanded its range by >1900 km along the Chilean coast throughout the last 50 yr. A. alicemartinae co habits with the native anemone Phymactis papillosa in the low intertidal zone, and given the limited mobility of both species, limited space could encourage aggressive behavior between them. P. papillosa shows different color phenotypes, and, as in other anemone species, color is associated with its level of aggressiveness. Here, we evaluated the aggressive behavior of A. alicemartinae on 2 color morphotypes of P. papillosa. Also, intraspecific agonistic interactions were considered in individuals of A. alicemartinae from 2 localities. Four experiments were conducted: (1) individual vs. individual, (2) individual vs. group forming a frontal line, (3) individual vs. group surrounding the individual and (4) group vs. group. Results showed A. alicemartinae to be a weak competitor against P. papillosa. The cryptogenic species lost more contests with green P. papillosa than with the red phenotype. Few aggressive interactions between conspecifics of A. alicemartinae were found. Results suggest that the expansion success of A. alicemartinae could be explained by alternative strategies, such as escape behavior, asexual reproduction and high dispersal potential.