Native amphibian toxin reduces invasive crayfish feeding with potential benefits to stream biodiversity
Biodiversity is generally reduced when non-native species invade an ecosystem. Invasive crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, populate California freshwater streams, and in the Santa Monica Mountains (Los Angeles, USA), their introduction has led to trophic cascades due to omnivorous feeding behavior and a rapid rate of population growth. The native California newt, Taricha torosa, possesses a neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin (TTX), that affects freshwater animal behavior. Given P. clarkii has a limited evolutionary history with TTX, we hypothesized that TTX may affect crayfish feeding behaviors. To determine if TTX affects P. clarkii behavior, we measured cumulative movement and various feeding behaviors of P. clarkii exposed to (i) waterborne, ecologically realistic concentrations of TTX (~ 3.0 × 10− 8 moles/L), (ii) an anuran chemical cue to account for intraguild cues, or (iii) a T. torosa chemical cue with quantitated TTX in it (~ 6.2 × 10− 8 moles/L).
We found that the presence of TTX in any form significantly reduced crayfish movement and decreased the amount of food consumed over time. Crayfish responses to the anuran treatment did not significantly differ from controls.
Our laboratory results show that naturally occurring neurotoxin from native California newts limits invasive crayfish foraging and feeding rates, which may play a role in preserving local stream ecosystems by limiting invasive crayfish behaviors that are detrimental to biodiversity.
|Native amphibian toxin reduces invasive crayfish feeding with potential benefits to stream biodiversity
|Gary M. Bucciarelli, Sierra J. Smith, Justin J. Choe, Phoebe D. Shin, Robert N. Fisher, Lee B. Kats
|BMC Ecological Evolution
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Western Ecological Research Center