Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 691–699 | Cite as

Temperature and salinity tolerances of Stage 1 zoeae predict possible range expansion of an introduced portunid crab, Charybdis japonica, in New Zealand

  • Amy E. FowlerEmail author
  • Nadine V. Gerner
  • Mary A. Sewell
Original Paper


The successful invasion of a non-native species depends on several factors, including initial colonization and establishment of a self-sustaining population. Populations of the non-native paddle crab Charybdis japonica were first recognized in the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand in 2000, most likely arriving in ballast waters of an Asian merchant vessel. A survey completed in 2003 found C. japonica throughout the Waitemata Harbour, and further sampling in 2009 has revealed several well established populations in estuaries up to 70 km from the putative invasion point. As the potential for further establishment of C. japonica beyond this area may depend on the temperature and salinity tolerances of their free swimming larvae, we quantified the survival of newly-hatched Stage 1 C. japonica zoeae subjected to temperatures ranging from 11 to 43°C or salinities from 5 to 45‰ in the laboratory. Upon hatching, replicate C. japonica zoeae were directly transferred from 21°C and 34.6‰ seawater to either an experimental temperature or salinity level. Behaviour and death rates of the larvae were monitored over a 24 h period in the absence of food. Comparisons of zoeal survival rates to historical sea surface temperatures and salinities show that C. japonica Stage 1 zoeae tolerate a broad range of temperatures and salinities and could survive natural conditions throughout New Zealand. This gives C. japonica the potential to invade many other New Zealand estuaries and harbours.


Charybdis japonica Invasive Stage 1 zoeae New Zealand Temperature Salinity 



This research was supported by a Fulbright New Zealand Graduate scholarship and University of Auckland Fulbright scholarship to A.E.F. N.V.G was supported by the IFM-Geomar in Kiel, Germany with the financial support from the Mercator Stiftung, Universitätsstiftung Kiel and Vereinigung von Freunden und Förderern der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. M. Birch assisted with project development, and A. Fukunaga provided statistical and editorial advice. Thank you to the various governmental councils and research organizations for providing us with the historical temperature and salinity data. We gratefully acknowledge D. Simberloff and an anonymous reviewer for comments which significantly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10530_2010_9860_MOESM1_ESM.doc (76 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 76 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy E. Fowler
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Nadine V. Gerner
    • 2
    • 4
  • Mary A. Sewell
    • 3
  1. 1.Leigh Marine LaboratoryUniversity of AucklandWarkworthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und DiversitätGoethe-Universität Frankfurt am MainFrankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH—UFZLeipzigGermany
  5. 5.Marine Invasions LabSmithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA

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