, Volume 52, Issue 3-4, pp 291-300

On the population development of the introduced razor clamEnsis americanus near the island of Sylt (North Sea)

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Abstract

The American razor clamEnsis americanus (=E. directus) was introduced into the eastern North Sea in the late 1970s. By larval and poslarval drifting the species rapidly extended its distribution, now ranging from the English Channel to the Kattegat. Near the island of Sylt in the eastern North Sea it has been recorded since 1979. Recruitment was rather irregular, with about six strong year-classes within two decades. Growth seems comparable with populations in its native range (Atlantic North America). Although present in the lower intertidal zone, maximum densities occurred in shallow subtidal sand with a biomass similar to that of dense beds of native cockles and mussels in the adjacent intertidal zone.Ensis americanus established in otherwise sparsely faunated sand (channels exposed to strong currents) as well as in dense infaunal assemblages (lower intertidal and subtidally). There were no significant interactions with resident species. In dense beds of razor clams, however, fine sediment particles accumulated which may have altered abundances of polychaetes. In spite of high annual variability,E. americanus has become a prominent component of the macrobenthos in shallow subtidal sands of the North Sea.