Alien invasive species represent a major threat in Italian freshwaters. Despite national and European regulations aimed at the control and prevention of new invasive species, the number of allochthonous species is increasing and so is the rate of spread. One of the most widespread invasive animals in coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea is the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, a native of the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Argentina. The species is euryhaline, and besides coastal waters, it is also commonly recorded in upper estuaries and lower reaches of rivers. Considering its fast adaptability and invasiveness, the main purpose of this work is to assess whether its biological plasticity and invasive capability may represent, in addition to marine and coastal habitats, also a potential threat for inland waters. Samples were collected in seven sites distributed between Southern and Central Italy. The new records are herein presented, starting from the original introduction by ballast waters and the actual westward migration in inland waters of Latium and Tuscany. In addition, the threat to biodiversity is also discussed, considering the blue crab aggressiveness toward both vertebrates and invertebrates, which may limit the distribution of native freshwater fish and macrofauna.

Euryhaline Aliens Invading Italian Inland Waters: The Case of the Atlantic Blue Crab Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896

Giorgio Mancinelli
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2022

Abstract

Alien invasive species represent a major threat in Italian freshwaters. Despite national and European regulations aimed at the control and prevention of new invasive species, the number of allochthonous species is increasing and so is the rate of spread. One of the most widespread invasive animals in coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea is the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, a native of the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Argentina. The species is euryhaline, and besides coastal waters, it is also commonly recorded in upper estuaries and lower reaches of rivers. Considering its fast adaptability and invasiveness, the main purpose of this work is to assess whether its biological plasticity and invasive capability may represent, in addition to marine and coastal habitats, also a potential threat for inland waters. Samples were collected in seven sites distributed between Southern and Central Italy. The new records are herein presented, starting from the original introduction by ballast waters and the actual westward migration in inland waters of Latium and Tuscany. In addition, the threat to biodiversity is also discussed, considering the blue crab aggressiveness toward both vertebrates and invertebrates, which may limit the distribution of native freshwater fish and macrofauna.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/467907
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