The invasive round goby Neogobius melanostomus as a potential threat to native crayfish populations.
Despite the spread of round goby Neogobius melanostomus into freshwater streams, there is a lack of information with respect to its effect on macroinvertebrate communities, especially crustaceans. We studied foraging efficiency of N. melanostomus on Procambarus virginalis and Asellus aquaticus, using a functional response (FR) approach. Stocking density of the prey species was manipulated to determine its effect on consumer utilization, with prey offered separately or combined at 1:1, 3:1, and 1:3 at each tested density. For both prey species, N. melanostomus exhibited type II FR, occasionally with a high proportion of non-consumptive mortality. Procambarus virginalis suffered a significantly higher attack rate compared to A. aquaticus. Neogobius melanostomus killed significantly more of the most prevalent prey, regardless of species. In trials with prey species of equal proportions, a difference in the number of each species killed was observed only at the highest density, at which P. virginalis was preferred. Neogobius melanostomus may be an important driver of population dynamics of prey species in the wild. The non-selective prey consumption makes N. melanostomus a potential threat to macrozoobenthic communities of river tributaries.