Feeding behaviour, predatory functional responses and trophic interactions of the invasive Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) and signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

Rosewarne, P.J., Mortimer, R.J.G. ORCID: 0000-0003-1292-8861, Newton, R.J., Grocock, C., Wing, C. and Dunn, A.M., 2016. Feeding behaviour, predatory functional responses and trophic interactions of the invasive Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) and signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). Freshwater Biology, 61 (4), pp. 426-443. ISSN 1365-2427

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1. Freshwaters are subject to particularly high rates of species introductions; hence, invaders increasingly co-occur and may interact to enhance impacts on ecosystem structure and function. As trophic interactions are a key mechanism by which invaders influence communities, we used a combination of approaches to investigate the feeding preferences and community impacts of two globally invasive large benthic decapods that co-occur in freshwaters: the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis).
2. In laboratory preference tests, both consumed similar food items, including chironomids, isopods and the eggs of two coarse fish species. In a comparison of predatory functional responses with a native crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes), juvenile E. sinensis had a greater predatory intensity than the native A. pallipes on the keystone shredder Gammarus pulex, and also displayed a greater
preference than P. leniusculus for this prey item.
3. In outdoor mesocosms (n = 16) used to investigate community impacts, the abundance of amphipods, isopods, chironomids and gastropods declined in the presence of decapods, and a decapod >gastropod >periphyton trophic cascade was detected when both species were present.
Eriocheir sinensis affected a wider range of animal taxa than P. leniusculus.
4. Stable-isotope and gut-content analysis of wild-caught adult specimens of both invaders revealed a wide and overlapping range of diet items including macrophytes, algae, terrestrial detritus, macroinvertebrates and fish. Both decapods were similarly enriched in 15N and occupied the same trophic level as Ephemeroptera, Odonata and Notonecta. Eriocheir sinensis d13C values were closely
aligned with macrophytes indicating a reliance on energy from this basal resource, supported by evidence of direct consumption from gut contents. Pacifastacus leniusculus d13C values were intermediate between those of terrestrial leaf litter and macrophytes, suggesting reliance on both
allochthonous and autochthonous energy pathways.
5. Our results suggest that E. sinensis is likely to exert a greater per capita impact on the macroinvertebrate communities in invaded systems than P. leniusculus, with potential indirect effects on productivity and energy flow through the community.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Freshwater Biology
Creators: Rosewarne, P.J., Mortimer, R.J.G., Newton, R.J., Grocock, C., Wing, C. and Dunn, A.M.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: April 2016
Volume: 61
Number: 4
ISSN: 1365-2427
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Feb 2016 11:26
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:58
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26852

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