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The tropical caprellid amphipod Paracaprella pusilla: a new alien crustacean in the Mediterranean Sea

April 17, 2013

Paracaprella pusilla Mayer (Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel 17:1–55, 1890), originally described from Brazil, is one of the most abundant caprellid amphipod species in tropical and subtropical seas around the world. During a survey of caprellid amphipods from marinas along the Balearic Island (Western Mediterranean Sea) carried out between November 2011 and August 2012, we found two established populations of P. pusilla in Mallorca and Ibiza, respectively. So far, its occurrence in European waters was reported only from southwestern Spain in 2010. This record represents a northward range expansion of the species’ distribution, which is found for the first time in the Mediterranean. This is also the first record of the genus Paracaprella in the Mediterranean Sea. The most probable introduction vector was ship fouling. We also found the invasive caprellid Caprella scaura Templeton (Trans Entomol Soc Lond 1:185–198, 1836) in Mallorca and Menorca, which is recorded for the first time in the Balearic Islands, confirming its rapid expansion along the Mediterranean. When comparing reproductive traits between both alien species, we found that P. pusilla has a higher fecundity than C. scaura for the same female size. Taking into account this evidence, the species may be expected to appear in other Mediterranean and adjacent areas.

Ros M, Vázquez-Luis M, Guerra-García J M, in press. The tropical caprellid amphipod Paracaprella pusilla: a new alien crustacean in the Mediterranean Sea, Helgoland Marine Research, 2013, doi:10.1007/s10152-013-0353-4. Article.

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