, Volume 810, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Negative effects of Corbicula fluminea over native freshwater mussels

  • Noé Ferreira-RodríguezEmail author
  • Ronaldo Sousa
  • Isabel Pardo


The global decline of freshwater mussels is related with a great variety of factors, including the introduction of invasive species. However, the possible effects of other invasive bivalves, such as the Asian clam Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774), remain mainly unknown and highly speculative with very few manipulative experiments addressing this issue. In this study, field and laboratory experiments were conducted to assess the possible negative effects of C. fluminea on the native freshwater mussel Unio delphinus Spengler, 1783. Growth, physiological condition, and the locomotor activity were assessed in U. delphinus at increasing C. fluminea density. U. delphinus exhibited lower growth, lower physiological condition, and higher locomotor activity at higher C. fluminea density, which may suggest that this unionid is negatively affected by C. fluminea and may be displaced to less favorable habitats. Although we were not able to establish the main mechanism(s) responsible for these results, possibilities include competition for food resources, competition for space which may result in mussel displacements and/or changes in microhabitat features as a result of bioturbation activities, and production of feces and pseudofeces by C. fluminea.


Unio delphinus Conservation Competition Carbohydrate Behavior Invasive species Asian clam 



N. F-R was supported from a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Autonomic Govern of Galicia (Xunta de Galicia Plan I2C, PRE/2013/400) and a scholarship for a research stay abroad from the University of Vigo (A.P.: 00VI 131H 481.02). Authors thank Jon Mageroy for valuable suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript. RS also acknowledge the support of the strategic programme UID/BIA/04050/2013 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007569) funded by national funds through the FCT I.P. and by the ERDF through the COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI). This study was conducted as part of the project FRESHCO: Multiple implications of invasive species on Freshwater Mussel coextinction processes, supported by FCT (contract: PTDC/AGRFOR/1627/2014). The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments that improve the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noé Ferreira-Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ronaldo Sousa
    • 3
    • 4
  • Isabel Pardo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología y Biología Animal, Facultad de Biología, Campus As Lagoas – MarcosendeUniversidad de VigoVigoSpain
  2. 2.ECIMAT - Estación de Ciencias Mariñas de TorallaVigoSpain
  3. 3.Department of Biology, CBMA - Centre of Molecular and Environmental BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  4. 4.CIIMAR/CIMAR - Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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