Predicting the predatory impacts of the “demon shrimp” Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, on native and previously introduced species

Helene C. Bovy, Daniel Barrios-O'Neill, Mark C. Emmerson, David C. Aldridge, Jamie T. A. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Biological invasions continue to exert pressure on ecosystems worldwide and we thus require methods that can help understand and predict the impacts of invasive species, on both native species and previously established invaders. Comparing laboratory derived functional responses among invasive and native predators has emerged as one such method, providing a robust proxy for field impacts. We used this method to examine the likely impacts of the Ponto–Caspian amphipod Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, known as the “demon shrimp”, a little investigated invader in European freshwaters that has recently established in the British Isles. We compared the functional responses on two prey species of D. haemobaphes with two other amphipod species: Dikerogammarus villosus, a congeneric invasive with well-documented impacts on macro-invertebrate communities and a native amphipod, Gammarus pulex. Prey species were native Chironomus sp. and the invasive Chelicorophium curvispinum, a tube-building amphipod also originating from the Ponto–Caspian region. D. villosus showed higher Type II functional responses towards both prey species than did D. haemobaphes and G. pulex, with the latter two predators exhibiting similar impacts on the native prey. However, D. haemobaphes had higher functional responses towards the invasive C. curvispinum than did G. pulex, both when prey individuals were tubeless and resident in their protective mud tubes. Thus, we demonstrate that functionally equivalent invasive congeners can show significantly different impacts on prey, regardless of shared evolutionary history. We also show that some predatory invaders can have impacts on native prey equivalent to native predator impacts, but that they can also exert significant impacts on previously introduced prey. We discuss the importance of invasion history and prey identity when attempting to understand and predict the impacts of new invaders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-607
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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