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Baseline histopathological survey of a recently invading island population of ‘killer shrimp’, Dikerogammarus villosus

J. Bojko, P. D. Stebbing, K. S. Bateman, J. E. Meatyard, K. Bacela-Spychalska, A. M. Dunn, G. D. Stentiford
"Diseases of aquatic organisms 2013 v.106 no.3 pp. 241-253
Dikerogammarus villosus, Microsporidia, aquatic organisms, fauna, histopathology, indigenous species, introduced species, invasive species, pathogens, rivers, surveys, France, Poland, Rhine River, United Kingdom
Dikerogammarus villosus, an invasive amphipod, has recently been detected in UK freshwaters. To assess the potential for pathogen introduction with the invader, a year-long histopathology survey of the D. villosus population inhabiting the initial site of detection (Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire, UK) was conducted. Additional samples were collected from 2 other subsequently identified populations within the UK (Cardiff Bay and Norfolk Broads), and from established populations in France (River Rhine) and Poland (River Vistula). The data revealed a range of pathogens and commensals. Several pathogens occurring within continental populations were not present within the UK populations. Microsporidian parasites and a novel viral pathogen were amongst those not observed in the UK. The absence of these pathogens at UK sites may therefore impart significant survival advantages to D. villosus over native fauna, thereby increasing its success as an invader. The contrast in pathogen profile between UK and continental-invasive populations of D. villosus provides preliminary evidence for so-called ‘enemy release’ in UK populations of D. villosus and is suggestive of single-point introductions, rather than continual incursion events as previously observed throughout its continental invasive range. This baseline survey provides important data on the pathogen and commensal profile of a high-impact, invasive species early in its invasion history of the UK. It can be utilised to assess potential for temporal pathogen acquisition by non-native invasive aquatic species and to investigate competitive advantages placed upon this invader due to absence of important pathogens experienced within its native range.