Abstract - Introduced species may have a competitive advantage over native species due to a lack of predators or pathogens. In the North Sea region, it has been assumed that no metazoan parasites are to be found in marine introduced species. In an attempt to test this assumption, we found native parasites in the introduced bivalves Crassostrea gigas and Ensis americanus with a prevalence of 35% and 80%, respectively, dominated by the trematode Renicola roscovita. When comparing these introduced species with native bivalves from the same localities, Mytilus edulis and Cerastoderma edule, trematode intensity was always lower in the introduced species. These findings have three major implications: (1) introduced bivalves are not free of detrimental parasites which raises the question whether introduced species have an advantage over native species after invasion, (2) introduced bivalves may divert parasite burdens providing a relief for native species and (3) they may affect parasite populations by influencing the fate of infectious stages, ending either in dead end hosts, not being consumed by potential final hosts or by adding new hosts. Future studies should consider these implications to arrive at a better understanding of the interplay between native parasites and introduced hosts.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > CO1-Coast in change
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > CO2-Coastal diversity - key species and food webs