Prey preferences of invasive (Hemigrapsus sanguineus, H. takanoi) and native (Carcinus maenas) intertidal crabs in the European Wadden Sea

Nadine Bleile, David W. Thieltges*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Invasive predators can have wide-ranging effects on invaded ecosystems and identifying the prey spectra and preferences of invaders are important steps in assessing their potential impacts on native biota. In this study, we investigated prey preferences of two invasive crab species (Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Hemigrapsus takanoi) that recently invaded Europe's shores and compared them with preferences of native shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) of similar size. In laboratory experiments, all three crab species preferred animal over algal prey. In general, sessile mussels (Mytilus edulis) were preferred over motile amphipods (Gammarus locusta) by all three crab species but amphipod predation was lower in the invasive compared with the native crabs. For the two invasive crab species, this pattern was the same in treatments where prey was offered separately (no-choice treatments) or simultaneously (choice treatments), while for the native crabs, mussel preference disappeared in choice treatments. The general preference of mussels by all three crab species suggests that local invasions of crabs most likely lead to increased competition among crabs. In addition, given that local densities of invasive crabs are often much higher than those of native crabs, predation pressure on native mussels can be expected to strongly increase at invaded sites. In contrast, local predation pressure on amphipods may be less affected by the crab invasions. Further field studies are needed to establish the magnitude of competition and predation pressure exerted by the invaders under natural conditions.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)811-817
Aantal pagina's7
TijdschriftJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
StatusPublished - aug.-2021

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