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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e24337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024337. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Population structure of an invasive parthenogenetic gastropod in coastal lakes and estuaries of northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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1
School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban, South Africa. 204507499@ukzn.ac.za

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Estuaries and coastal lakes receive little attention despite being heavily invaded by non-indigenous invasive species (NIS). In these situations, studies of population dynamics in invaded habitats can provide valuable insights into how NIS interact with new environments. Tarebia granifera is a prosobranch gastropod from south-east Asia which has invaded other sub-tropical parts of the world. This study addresses whether a small number of key environmental factors influences gastropod communities, and specifically how the population density and size structure of T. granifera were influenced by environmental change in estuaries and coastal lakes in southern Africa.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

T. granifera's density, number of brooded juveniles and size structure were measured at the St. Lucia Estuary, Mgobozeleni Estuary, Lake Sibaya and Lake Nhlange. Size structure was classified according to shell height (SH). All dissected individuals were found to be female and free from trematode infection. Salinity, water depth, temperature, and pH were the main factors correlated with population density of gastropod communities. T. granifera often reached densities well over 1000 ind. m(-2), displacing indigenous gastropods and becoming a dominant component of the benthic community. T. granifera successfully invaded estuaries despite frequent exposure to high salinity and desiccation, which could together eliminate >97% of the population. The persistence of T. granifera was ensured due to its high fecundity and the environmental tolerance of large adults (20-30 mm SH) which carried an average of 158±12.8 SD brooded juveniles. Repeat introductions were not essential for the success of this parthenogenetic NIS.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

There is a need for a broader study on the reproductive biology of T. granifera (including the previously overlooked "brood pouch ecology"), which affects population dynamics and may be relevant to other parthenogenetic NIS, such as Melanoides tuberculata and Potamopyrgus antipodarum.

PMID:
21904629
PMCID:
PMC3164166
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0024337
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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