What explains the invading success of the aquatic mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca)?
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- Alonso, A. & Castro-Díez, P. Hydrobiologia (2008) 614: 107. doi:10.1007/s10750-008-9529-3
The spread of non-native species is one of the most harmful and least reversible disturbances in ecosystems. Species have to overcome several filters to become a pest (transport, establishment, spread and impact). Few studies have checked the traits that confer ability to overcome these steps in the same species. The aim of the present study is to review the available information on the life-history and ecological traits of the mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum Gray (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca), native from New Zealand, in order to explain its invasive success at different aquatic ecosystems around the world. A wide tolerance range to physico-chemical factors has been found to be a key trait for successful transport. A high competitive ability at early stages of succession can explains its establishment success in human-altered ecosystems. A high reproduction rate, high capacity for active and passive dispersal, and the escape from native predators and parasites explains its spread success. The high reproduction and the ability to monopolize invertebrate secondary production explain its high impact in the invaded ecosystems. However, further research is needed to understand how other factors, such as population density or the degree of human perturbation can modify the invasive success of this aquatic snail.