Marine Biology

, 164:69 | Cite as

Alien amphipods in a sea of troubles: cryptogenic species, unresolved taxonomy and overlooked introductions

Invasive Species - Review, concept, and synthesis
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Invasive Species


The large amount of information available on marine alien species distribution can be synthesized into inventories. These are essential tools for management: they allow for the identification of most invasive species and most invaded areas which facilitate management decisions and horizon-scanning initiatives. Here we present an inventory of marine alien amphipods worldwide, with a focus on the quality of available data and on the uncertainty that affects species identity or alien status of amphipod species records. Amphipod records from different world ocean zones were cross-checked and the species with wide disjunct distributions that could be related to human transport were extracted. These were carefully examined for validity of species identification and assessment of alien status. One hundred and five amphipod species were studied. Of these, 55 species are verified aliens at least in one geographical region; the remaining are affected by uncertainty and further investigation is required before they are included in inventories of marine alien species. Many knowledge gaps affect our understanding of the global distribution of marine alien amphipods, as well as many other marine invertebrate groups, and it is possible that our current picture is largely underestimated.


Amphipod Alien Introduction Cosmopolitanism Pseudo-indigenous species Species complex 



This work has been carried out as part of the PhD thesis of AC. We gratefully acknowledge the amphipodologists with whom we have discussed the status of some controversial species: Jan Beermann, Traudl Krapp-Schickel, Macarena Ros, Carlos Rumbold. Special thanks to Giuseppe De Paolis, who helped us immensely in obtaining copies of publications difficult to access, and to Aylin Ulman for the English revision of the text. We are also grateful to John R. Wilson for comments on the first version of the manuscript, Guy Bachelet and two anonymous reviewers for their careful check and constructive criticism that have improved the manuscript significantly. Finally, we are indebted with James T. Carlton, whose erudite corrections and encouraging inputs have provided a tremendous support to this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 205 KB)
227_2017_3093_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (226 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 226 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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