Freshwater polychaetes are relatively rare and little-studied members of the benthos of lakes and rivers. We studied one polychaete species (Manayunkia speciosa) in Lake Erie near the mouth of the Detroit River. Abundances at one site were determined between 1961 and 2013 and life‐history characteristics at two sites were determined seasonally (March–November) in 2009–2010 and 2012–2013. Life‐history characteristics included abundances, length‐frequency distributions, presence/absence of constructed tubes, sexual maturity, and number and maturation of young of year (YOY) in tubes. Long-term abundances decreased in successive time periods between 1961 and 2003 (mean range = 57,570 to 2583/m2) but few changes occurred between 2003 and 2013 (mean = 5007/m2; range/y = 2355–8216/m2). Seasonal abundances varied substantially between sites and years, but overall, abundances were low in March–April, high in May–August, and low in September–November. Although reproduction was continuous throughout warmer months, en masse recruitment, as revealed by length–frequency distributions, occurred in a brief period late‐June to mid-July, and possibly in early-September. All life history characteristics, including tube construction, were dependent on water temperatures (> 5 °C in spring and < 15 °C in fall). These results generally agree with and complement laboratory studies of M. speciosa in the Pacific Northwest where M. speciosa hosts parasites that cause substantial fish mortalities. Although abundance ofM. speciosa near the mouth of the Detroit River was 33-fold lower in 2013 than it was in 1961, this population has persisted for five decades and, therefore, has the potential to harbor parasites that may cause fish mortalities in the Great Lakes.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Freshwater polychaetes (Manayunkia speciosa) near the Detroit River, western Lake Erie: Abundance and life‐history characteristics|
|Series title||Journal of Great Lakes Research|
|Contributing office(s)||Great Lakes Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Detroit River, Lake Erie|