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Long-term population fluctuations of the exotic New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum and its introduced aporocotylid trematode in northwestern France

Gérard, Claudia, Hervé, Maxime, Hechinger, RyanF.
Hydrobiologia 2018 v.817 no.1 pp. 253-266
Potamopyrgus antipodarum, Trematoda, clams, home range, intermediate hosts, invasive species, monitoring, population dynamics, snails, streams, water temperature, France, New Zealand
Long-term studies of invasive populations are rare, which is unfortunate because important aspects of their dynamics may only be detected over long term. For instance, invasive populations can experience substantial population declines, or even crashes, sometime after their introduction and invasion. Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Caenogastropoda) is a successful invader, and is rarely parasitized in introduced areas. In France, the snail is parasitized as first intermediate host by only one trematode species (Aporocotylid sp. I), native to the snail’s home range, New Zealand. Here, we examined the dynamics of the molluscan assemblage in a French stream on a 14-year interval (2000–2004 and 2009–2013), focusing on this introduced host-parasite association. Overall, P. antipodarum was numerically dominant (90.80%) among molluscs, also including sphaeriid clams (9.12%) and pulmonate snails (0.08%). However, during the last monitoring period, we found a substantial population decline of P. antipodarum, potentially driven by environmental change, such as decreased water temperature and depth, and possibly competitive interactions with sphaeriids, which became numerically dominant (56.34%). P. antipodarum was the only mollusc found infected and only by Aporocotylid sp. I. Interestingly, despite low monthly prevalence (from 0 to 1.52%) and snail host population decline, the P. antipodarum-aporocotylid relationship appeared to be persistent over time.