Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 365–379 | Cite as

Spillover but no spillback of two invasive parasitic copepods from invasive Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) to native bivalve hosts

  • M. Anouk Goedknegt
  • Anne-Karin Schuster
  • Christian Buschbaum
  • René Gergs
  • A. Sarina Jung
  • Pieternella C. Luttikhuizen
  • Jaap van der Meer
  • Karin Troost
  • K. Mathias Wegner
  • David W. Thieltges
Original Paper


Invasive species can cause indirect effects on native biota by modifying parasite-host interactions and disease occurrence in native species. This study investigated the role of the invasive Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in potential spillover (co-introduced parasites infect native hosts) and spillback (native or established parasites infect invasive hosts and re-infect native hosts) scenarios of recently introduced (Mytilicola orientalis) and previously established (Mytilicola intestinalis) marine parasitic copepods in two regions in northern Europe, the Dutch Delta and the Wadden Sea. By examining 3416 individuals of 11 potential host species from sympatric host populations, we found that the recently introduced parasite M. orientalis does not only infect its principal host, the invasive Pacific oyster (prevalence at infected sites 2–43 %, mean intensity 4.1 ± 0.6 SE), but also native blue mussels (Mytilus edulis; 3–63 %, 2.1 ± 0.2), common cockles (Cerastoderma edule; 2–13 %, 1.2 ± 0.3) and Baltic tellins (Macoma balthica; 6–7 %, 1.0 ± 0), confirming a spillover effect. Spillback effects were not observed as the previously established M. intestinalis was exclusively found in blue mussels (prevalence at infected locations 3–72 %, mean intensity 2.4 ± 0.3 SE). The high frequency of M. orientalis spillover, in particular to native mussels, suggests that Pacific oysters may cause strong parasite-mediated indirect impacts on native bivalve populations.


Mytilicola orientalis Mytilicola intestinalis Mytilus edulis Parasite co-introduction Invasive species Wadden Sea 



We thank the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) for funding (bilateral NWO-ZKO project 839.11.002). Anne-Karin Schuster thanks the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for financial support. We are grateful to Anneke Bol for help with the molecular analysis and Rob Dekker, Jarco Havermans, Reinier Nauta, Simone Muck and Jennifer Welsh for their support with field work and Carola van Zweeden and Ad van Gool for the provision of samples. We also thank Karsten Reise for his fruitful comments that improved the manuscript. Finally, we appreciate the feedback of the three anonymous reviewers that helped to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1285_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (792 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 792 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Anouk Goedknegt
    • 1
  • Anne-Karin Schuster
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Buschbaum
    • 3
  • René Gergs
    • 2
  • A. Sarina Jung
    • 1
  • Pieternella C. Luttikhuizen
    • 1
  • Jaap van der Meer
    • 1
  • Karin Troost
    • 4
  • K. Mathias Wegner
    • 3
  • David W. Thieltges
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Coastal Systems and Utrecht UniversityNIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg, TexelThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental SciencesUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  3. 3.Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchAlfred Wegener InstituteList/SyltGermany
  4. 4.IMARES Wageningen URYersekeThe Netherlands

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