Biological Invasions

, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 995–1008

Premature refutation of a human-mediated marine species introduction: the case history of the marine snail Littorina littorea in the Northwestern Atlantic

  • John W. Chapman
  • James T. Carlton
  • M. Renee Bellinger
  • April M. H. Blakeslee
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-007-9098-9

Cite this article as:
Chapman, J.W., Carlton, J.T., Bellinger, M.R. et al. Biol Invasions (2007) 9: 995. doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9098-9


The closely documented spread of the European periwinkle snail, Littorina littorea from Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1840 to New Jersey by 1870, its near absence in pre-European fossil deposits, and its close association with human mechanisms of transport from Europe, are among the clearest evidence of a human-mediated marine introduction ever reported. Genetic data were recently proposed as evidence that North American L. littorea predate European contact and thus, are not introduced. Review of these genetic data and all other data reveals that the simplest explanation of the modern occurrence of this snail in North America is by human introduction.


Littorina littorea Invasion criteria Genetics Introduced species Invasive species Biological invasions 



Cytochrome oxydase I


Cytochrome b


Internal transcribed spacer region

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Chapman
    • 1
  • James T. Carlton
    • 2
  • M. Renee Bellinger
    • 1
  • April M. H. Blakeslee
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science CenterNewportUSA
  2. 2.Maritime Studies ProgramWilliams College—Mystic SeaportMysticUSA
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations