Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Trophic niches of three sympatric invasive crayfish of EU concern.

Abstract

The spread of non-native species results in novel and often unexpected assemblages. Using stable isotopes, we disentangled the trophic relationships between three invasive crayfish species at two sites of a small thermal tributary of the Barát stream, Hungary. We studied Procambarus virginalis and Faxonius limosus living in sympatry in the upper section of this thermal tributary, and then an assemblage in a lower section also containing P. clarkii. The two species in the upper section largely shared trophic niches, although P. virginalis was more carnivorous than F. limosus, which fed more on detritus and aquatic plants. In the lower section, P. clarkii had a distinctive trophic niche, being more carnivorous than the other species and also preying on other crayfish and fish. The trophic niches of the other two species shifted slightly, being narrower and more overlapping in the presence of P. clarkii. It seems that the presence of P. clarkii affects the feeding habits and trophic niches of the other two crayfish. Our results also indicate that the species have somewhat distinctive feeding niches, which suggests that the ecosystem effects of these species are likely to be at least partially additive in the shared localities.