, Volume 589, Issue 1, pp 15–27 | Cite as

The invasive bivalve Limnoperna fortunei enhances benthic invertebrate densities in South American floodplain rivers

  • Francisco SylvesterEmail author
  • Demetrio Boltovskoy
  • Daniel Cataldo
Primary Research Paper


We assessed the effects of the introduced bivalve L. fortunei on the abundance and biomass of associated benthic invertebrates in South American large floodplain rivers. The survey was based on comparisons of L. fortunei-covered and L. fortunei-barren areas in five artificial cages from where large predators were excluded, exposed to colonization by the mussel for a total of 17 months in the lower Paraná river delta. Accompanying invertebrates were dominated by Oligochaeta, Nematoda, Rotifera, Copepoda, Gastropoda, Hirudinea, Chironomidae and nauplii. Also present in minor numbers were Tardigrada, Turbellaria, Cladocera, Ostracoda, Insecta, Hydracarina and Decapoda. Dominant invertebrates were 27–100% more numerous (and hosted 43–100% more biomass) in areas with L. fortunei than in areas barren of the mussel. In areas with L. fortunei, total invertebrate biomass (excluding the bivalve) was positively correlated with mussel biomass, and increased with time of exposure under water. No such trend was observed in areas barren of L. fortunei. It is suggested that higher invertebrate growth is associated with enhanced substrate complexity and, probably, the transfer of organic matter from the plankton to the sediments due to the mussels’ feces and pseudofeces. Some of the adverse ecosystem-wide effects of filter-feeding invasive mussels observed in European and North American water bodies may be offset in the Paraná by the extremely high loads of organic matter in these turbid waters.


Limnoperna fortunei Benthic invertebrates Invasive species Ecological impact Freshwater Bivalves 



We thank Mrs. Cintia Cantarini for logistical assistance. Gerardo Cueto helped with the statistical analysis. The following individuals identified or verified identifications of invertebrates: Susana José de Paggi (INALI, Santa Fe; Rotifera), Mercedes Marchese (INALI, Santa Fe; Oligochaeta), Silvina Menu Marque (Universidad de Buenos Aires; Copepoda), Cristina Marinone (Universidad de Buenos Aires; Cladocera), Daniel Roccatagliata (Universidad de Buenos Aires; Ostracoda and insects), Pablo Penchaszadeh (Universidad de Buenos Aires; Gastropoda) and Bettina S. Gullo (Universidad Nacional de la Plata; Hirudinea). This work was partially funded by grants UBA X096 and PICT 25275 to DB.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Sylvester
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Demetrio Boltovskoy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Daniel Cataldo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina

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