Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1791–1803 | Cite as

Competitive interactions between co-occurring invaders: identifying asymmetries between two invasive crayfish species

  • Sandra HudinaEmail author
  • Nika Galić
  • Ivo Roessink
  • Karlo Hock
Original Paper


Ecosystems today increasingly suffer invasions by multiple invasive species. Complex interactions between invasive species can have different fitness implications for each invader, which can in turn determine the future progression of their invasions and result in differential impacts on native species and ecosystems. To this end, through pair-wise and group scale experiments, we examined possible interaction outcomes, competition effects and their potential fitness implications for two widespread invasive species of crayfish that increasingly co-occur in freshwater ecosystems of Europe (Pacifastacus leniusulus and Orconectes limosus). In all trials, P. leniusculus demonstrated the potential to outcompete O. limosus in both staged encounters and direct resource competition, being more likely to win heterospecific agonistic encounters and to acquire shelters at a higher rate. Observed dyadic dominance was translated to a broader social context of group-scale experiments, in which dominance of P. leniusculus was further strengthened by size differential between species. O. limosus was not able to compensate for competitive pressure by the dominant P. leniusculus and suffered wet weight loss and more frequent injuries in the presence of P. leniusculus. While both species are detrimental to native ecosystems, the ability of P. leniusculus to withstand competition pressure from another successful invasive species underscores its potential to establish dominant populations. Our results highlight the importance of understanding interspecies competition in prioritizing potential management activities or control efforts in contact zones.


Interspecies competition Invasive species Agonistic interactions Crayfish Freshwater invasion 



We thank Piet Verdonschot and Dorinne Dekkers for providing us with the Observer program, and Paul van Wielink, Jeffery Samuels and others for their help with acquiring P. leniusculus individuals. We are grateful to Kresimir Zganec for helpful comments and discussions on the manuscript. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research was realized through a scholarship by the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK 2009/041).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Hudina
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nika Galić
    • 2
  • Ivo Roessink
    • 3
  • Karlo Hock
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality ManagementWageningen University and Research CenterWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.AlterraWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural ResourcesRutgers The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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