Field evidence of dispersal of branchiopods, ostracods and bryozoans by teal (Anas crecca) in the Camargue (southern France)
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- Brochet, A.L., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Guillemain, M. et al. Hydrobiologia (2010) 637: 255. doi:10.1007/s10750-009-9975-6
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Invertebrate propagules may survive internal and external transports by waterbirds, thus facilitating their dispersal between aquatic habitats. However, field data on such transport remain limited, especially for exozoochory. We quantified and compared the rates of internal and external invertebrate transports simultaneously in a wintering population of teal (Anas crecca) in the Camargue (southern France). We inspected lower gut (rectum) contents of birds that had been shot (N = 366) and washed birds that had been live-trapped (N = 68) during the winters 2006–2007 and 2007–2008. At least one propagule was recorded in 2.5% and 10.3% of internal and external samples, respectively. Cladoceran, ostracod, plumatellid bryozoan and anostracan propagules were all recorded in both internal and external samples. Hatching confirmed their viability, except for anostracan eggs. At least three cladoceran species and two ostracod species were recorded, none of which had previously been shown to be dispersed by birds. Amongst external samples, we recorded a significant seasonal trend in 1 year with most propagules recorded before December, keeping with a seasonal decline in the availability of propagules on the water surface. This study provides evidence that teal may be important vectors of invertebrate dispersal both within the Camargue and along migratory flyways.