Biological Invasions

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 37–47 | Cite as

The American brine shrimp as an exotic invasive species in the western Mediterranean

  • Francisco Amat
  • Francisco Hontoria
  • Olga Ruiz
  • Andy J. Green
  • Marta I. Sánchez
  • Jordi Figuerola
  • Francisco Hortas


The hypersaline environments and salterns present in the western Mediterranean region (including Italy, southern France, the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco) contain autochthonous forms of the brine shrimp Artemia, with parthenogenetic diploid and tetraploid strains coexisting with the bisexual species A. salina. Introduced populations of the American brine shrimp A. franciscana have also been recorded in these Mediterranean environments since the 1980s. Based on brine shrimp cyst samples collected in these countries from 1980 until 2002, we were able to establish the present distribution of autochthonous brine shrimps and of A. franciscana, which is shown to be an expanding invasive species. The results obtained show that A. franciscana is now the dominant Artemia species in Portuguese salterns, along the French Mediterranean coast and in Cadiz bay (Spain). Co-occurrence of autochthonous (parthenogenetic) and American brine shrimp populations was observed in Morocco (Mar Chica) and France (Aigues Mortes), whereas A. franciscana was not found in Italian cyst samples. The results suggest these exotic A. franciscana populations originate as intentional or non-intentional inoculations through aquacultural (hatchery effluents) or pet market activities, and suggest that the native species can be rapidly replaced by the exotic species.

Artemia aquaculture salterns western Mediterranean 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Amat
    • 1
  • Francisco Hontoria
    • 1
  • Olga Ruiz
    • 1
  • Andy J. Green
    • 2
  • Marta I. Sánchez
    • 2
  • Jordi Figuerola
    • 2
  • Francisco Hortas
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Acuicultura de Torre de la Sal (CSIC)Ribera de Cabanes (Castellón)Spain
  2. 2.Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Avda. María Luisa s/n, Pabellón del PerúSevillaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y AmbientalesGrupo de Conservación de Humedales CosterosSpain

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