The dynamics of predation on gammarus spp. (Crustacea: Amphipoda)

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49 Citations (Scopus)


Gammarus spp. (Crustacea: Amphipoda) are widespread throughout a diverse range of marine, freshwater and estuarine/brackish habitats, often dominating benthic macroinvertebrate communities in terms of both numbers and/or biomass. Gammarus spp. are the dominant macroinvertebrate prey items of many fish, whether as a seasonal food source or a year-round staple. Selective predation by fish on Gammarus spp. is often linked to parasitism and the body size of the prey. Gammarus spp. populations are under increasing threat from both pollution and replacement/displacement by introduced species. Loss of populations and species invasions/replacements could have significant impacts on native predator species if the predator(s) cannot successfully adapt their feeding patterns to cope with non-indigenous Gammarus prey species. Despite this, many fish predation studies do not identify Gammarus prey to species level. This lack of precision could be important, as Gammarus spp. exhibit wide variations in physiochemical tolerances, habitat requirements, abilities to invade and susceptibility to replacement. Although rarely acknowledged, the impacts of nonpiscean predators (particularly macroinvertebrates) on Gammarus prey species may frequently be stronger than those exerted by fish. A major aim of this review is to ascertain the current importance of Gammarus as a prey species, such that the implications of changes in Gammarus spp. populations can be more accurately assessed by interested groups such as ecologists and fisheries managers. We also review the dynamics of Gammarus spp. as prey to a diverse array of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, flatworms, other crustaceans such as crabs and crayfish and, perhaps most importantly, other Gammarus spp.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-395
Number of pages21
JournalBiological Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1999


  • Amphipods
  • Fish predation
  • Gammarus spp
  • Macroinvertebrate
  • Predator
  • Prey
  • Species replacements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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