Native European branchiobdellids on non-native crayfishes: Report from the Czech Republic
Invasive alien species present a global threat to biodiversity, particularly where pathogens and symbionts are involved. Non-native crayfish species can increase their impact on the host ecosystem through introductions of symbiotic fauna. Conversely, non-native crayfishes could serve as hosts for native epibionts, thus substituting for disappearing native crayfishes as well. Here we report the presence of native branchiobdellids on naturalized populations of non-native crayfish Orconectes limosus and Pacifastacus leniusculus living in sympatry with native Astacus astacus. The native crayfish species probably served as a source of Branchiobdella spp. for non-native crayfishes. Two species of Branchiobdella (B. parasita and B. pentadonta) were found on P. leniusculus while only B. parasita was found on O. limosus. The level of colonization of inspected specimens and species was also evaluated. The mean number of branchiobdellids found on P. leniusculus and O. limosus was 26.0±15.9, and 64.8±27.7, respectively. Orconectes limosus was more heavily colonized by Branchiobdella despite being significantly smaller than P. leniusculus. Non-native species were corroborated as suitable to host the native epibionts.
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