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Benthic copepods (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) in the nearshore sediments of southern Lake Michigan appear to be dominated by two new invasive species. We report the first occurrence in North America of Schizopera borutzkyi Montschenko, a native to the Danube River delta, and Heteropsyllus nr. nunni, likely a new species that is morphologically similar to the marine species Heteropsyllus nunni and represents the first occurrence of this genus in freshwater. Schizopera borutzkyi is a euryhaline species occurring in shallow sands in its native habitat and in deeper sands (6-15 m) in southern Lake Michigan. Based on the absence of these species from previous studies, we suggest that they are recent introductions. Heteropsyllus nr. nunni dominated (55-100%) the harpacticoid abundance to depths of 9 m, but S. borutzkyi comprised 75% of the harpacticoid abundance at 15 m. Native harpacticoids were always greatly outnumbered by invasive harpacticoids in our samples, which suggests that the natives are being replaced rapidly or that the invasive species are finding unused resources. The ecological implications of these introductions are not known, but these invasions may represent continued 'invasional meltdown' in Lake Michigan.
Additional Publication Details
Establishment of two invasive crustaceans (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) on the nearshore sands of Lake Michigan
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences