Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A new species of the amphipod Melita Leach, 1814 (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Melitidae for the Azov-Black Sea basin.

Abstract

Amphipods of the genus Melita (Melitidae, Amphipoda) were found in the Kerch Strait (Black Sea) in September 2019 and March, July, and November 2020. The material was collected in the formations formed by the polychaete Ficopomatus enigmaticus (Fauvel, 1923). The depth ranged from 0.1 to 0.2 m. The individuals found in this site do not belong to the species Melita palmata (Montagu, 1804) known in the Black Sea, but they correspond to the morphological characters of the genus Melita. The species discovered is as close as possible to the species Melita setiflagella Yamato, 1988, whose natural range is located in the estuaries of rivers in Japan. The invasive range covers coastal waters of the Atlantic coast of Europe, the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States, and the Atlantic coast of Argentina. Presumably, this invader was accidentally introduced into the Black Sea with ballast waters or by transfer with fouling of ship surfaces. M. cf. setiflagella formed a stable self-reproducing population in the Kerch Strait. Therefore, it is important to monitor the distribution of this amphipod in order to predict the consequences for endemic species and local ecosystems.