Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1872
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1985
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1872

General Invasion History:

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is native to the Eastern Atlantic, where it occurs from the Western Baltic and southern Norway to Atlantic Spain and the Mediterranean Sea (Myer 1969; Lincoln 1979; Bellan-Santini et al. 1993). It occurs from the intertidal zone to 155 m, and often occurs in moderately brackish lagoons at salinities as low as 15 PSU (Bousfield 1973). Based on its limited range and association with manmade structures and eutrophic habitats, it appears to have been introduced to the Northwest Atlantic, from Casco Bay, Maine to Chesapeake Bay (Verrill and Smith 1873; Bousfield 1973; Chapman 2000; Wells et al. 2014; Ruiz et al., unpublished data). In the Pacific, it has been found in Humboldt Bay, California since the 1980s (Boyd et al. 2002).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is introduced on the West Coast, where it is currently only known from Humboldt Bay, California (1st collected in the 1980s - Boyd et al. 2002; Chapman 2007). It is known from sloughs and saltmarshes at the northern and southern ends of the Bay (Boyd et al. 2002).

Invasion History on the East Coast:

On the East Coast, M. gryllotalpa was first reported in Vineyard Sound, Massachusetts by Verrill and Smith (1872, as M. minax) where it ‘sometimes occurs in great abundance on eelgrass in brackish ponds' (Verrill and Smith 1872). It has been reported from Massachusetts Bay (MIT Sea Grant 2003) to the Indian River estuary, Delaware, south of Delaware Bay (Watling and Maurer 1972). It was not reported in earlier surveys of amphipods in Chesapeake Bay (Cowles 1930; Feeley and Wass 1971; Marsh 1972; Wass 1972), but was found in fouling plates in lower Chesapeake Bay in 1994 (Ruiz et al., unpublished data). John Chapman (Chapman 2000; personal communication 2008) and James Carlton (personal communication 2008) consider this species introduced in the Northwest Atlantic, based on its limited range on the East Coast, compared to its much wider European range, its absence from high latitudes, its potential for transport on ship hulls, and its preference for nutrient-rich, disturbed environments (Bousfield 1973). Potentially, it could have been a much earlier introduction to North America, but we have insufficient records to document early spread along the East Coast.


Description

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa has a somewhat slender and shallow body. In the male, Coxa Plate 1 is produced anteriorly into a point, which ends behind and below the antennal sinus. In both sexes, Coxa Plate 5 has two lobes and the anterior one projects slightly deeper. Antenna 1 is about half the body length and has a flagellum of up to 22 segments, with a minute accessory flagellum. Antenna 2 has a flagellum of 6-9 segments, shorter than peduncle segment 5.

The gnathopods are sexually dimorphic in this family. Gnathopod 1 is greatly enlarged in males and much larger than Gnathopod 2. Segment 2 of Gnathopod 1 is expanded distally, while segment 5 (carpus, 'hand') is greatly expanded in the male, and is about as long as deep, with 2-4 teeth on the posterior distal margin. The propodus (segment 6) is short, with a sinuous posterior edge. The dactyl (segment 7), when folded, reaches the angle of the palm of the carpus. In the male, Gnathopod 2 has its basis (segment 2) greatly expanded, with the anterior margin convex. In both sexes, segments 5 and 6 are elongated. In the female, Gnathopods 1 and 2 are roughly equal in length. In the female's Gnathopod 1, the propodite is longer than the carpus. In females, the carpus is only moderately expanded. 

The rami of Uropod 3 are about equal in length to the peduncle. The outer rami are slightly longer; and the apices have groups of 3 spines across tips, with paired and solitary spines on margins. The terminal setae on the telson are long. Males reach 8 mm and females reach 10 mm in size. The color is greenish-white with small brown patches on the dorsal surface. Description based on: Myers 1969, Bousfield 1973, Lincoln 1979, and Bellan-Santini et al. 1993.


Taxonomy

Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Malacostraca
Subclass:   Eumalacostraca
Superorder:   Peracarida
Order:   Amphipoda
Suborder:   Gammaridea
Family:   Aoridae
Genus:   Microdeutopus
Species:   gryllotalpa

Synonyms

Autonoe grandimana (Bruzelius, 1859)
Microdeutopus minax (Smith, 1874)
Microdeutopus bidens (Sowinski, 1880)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Microdeutopus anomalus
This amphipod is native to both sides of the North Atlantic from Norway to the Canary Islands and Mediterranean Sea; and Cape Ann, Massachusetts to mid-Atlantic states and Bermuda, in marine habitats (Bousfield 1973).

Ecology

General:

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is a tube-dwelling amphipod, living in vegetation and fouling communities in estuaries in coastal waters (Bousfield 1973; Lincoln 1979). Gammarid amphipods have separate sexes, brooded embryos, and direct development.  Females in a population near Cadiz, Spain matured at 3.5-4.5 mm (Drake and Arias 1995). In M. gryllotalpa, mating takes place in the female's tube (Borowsky 1989). Females in a Greek lagoon carried 1-8 eggs in a brood, and young were born at ~1 mm length (Karakiri and Nicolaidu 1987). Breeding was year-round in Spanish and Greek populations (minimum temperature 8C) (Karakiri and Nicolaidu 1987; Drake and Arias 1995), but is likely to be seasonal in regions with colder winters.

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa tolerates a wide range of temperature (-1.8 to 27C) and salinity (15-65 PSU) (Bousfield 1973; Karakiri and Nicolaidu 1987; Drake and Arias 1995). This amphipod occurs from the intertidal zone to 150 m depth (Bousfield 1973; Lincoln 1979). The U-shaped tubes, constructed from bits of debris, glued with secretions from the animal's glands, provide some protection from desiccation in the intertidal zone, and probably from predators (Borowsky 1989). Habitats include rocky areas, algae, seagrasses (Zostera and Ruppia), oyster and mussel beds, salt marshes and fouling communities on docks and floats (Bousfield 1973; Lincoln 1979; Boyd et al. 2002). Microdeutopus gryllotalpa feeds on macroalgae, especially filamentous green algae (e.g. Cladophora and Ulva sp.), detritus, and to lesser extent on seagrasses (Zostera sp.) (Hauxwell et al. 1998; Jephson et al. 2008).

Food:

Phytoplankton, detritus

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder

SusFed

Habitats

General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatSalt-brackish marshNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatOyster ReefNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Salinity RangeHyperhaline40+ PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone


Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)-1.8Based on geographical range and personal observations (Paul Fofonoff, Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island salt ponds, with winter ice cover)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)27Field, Mazama Lagoon, Greece (Karakiri and Nicolaidu 1987)
Minimum Salinity (‰)15Bousfield 1973
Maximum Salinity (‰)65Field, San Francisco de Asis lagoon, Cadiz, Spain (Drake and Arias 1995).
Minimum Length (mm)3.5Females start breeding at 3.5 mm in summer, 4.5 mm in winter, near Cadiz, Spain (Drake and Arias 1995).
Maximum Length (mm)10Females (Males reach 8 mm, Bousfield 1973)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Warm temperate
Broad Salinity RangeNoneMesohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is an abundant amphipod in algae and seagrass communities on the coast of the Northeast US (Bousfield 1973). It has potential impacts on Eelgrass (Zostera marina) and Widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima) by covering the leaves with its tubes, but also consuming epiphytic algae (Bousfield 1973; Jephson et al. 2008). This amphipod is also a likely food for fishes.

Ecological Impacts

Herbivory- Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is the most abundant grazer of macroalgae in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, making up an average of over 50% of the grazer community. In experiments, it was capable of grazing at 5X the growth rate of algae in low-nutrient conditions, but at only 1/10 of the growth rate under high nutrient conditions (Hauxwell et al. 1998).

Regional Impacts

NA-ET3Cape Cod to Cape HatterasEcological ImpactHerbivory
Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is the most abundant grazer of macroalgae in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, making up on average over 50% of the grazer community. In experiments, it was capable of grazing at 5X the growth rate of algae in low-nutrient conditions, but at only 1/10 of the growth rate under high nutrient conditions (Hauxwell et al. 1998).
N195_CDA_N195 (Cape Cod)Ecological ImpactHerbivory
Microdeutopus gryllotalpa is the most abundant grazer of macroalgae in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, making up on average over 50% of the grazer community. In experiments, it was capable of grazing at 5X the growth rate of algae in low-nutrient conditions, but at only 1/10 of the growth rate under high nutrient conditions (Hauxwell et al. 1998).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
N170 Massachusetts Bay 2000 Def Estab
M130 Chesapeake Bay 1994 Def Estab
M100 Delaware Inland Bays 1972 Def Estab
N195 _CDA_N195 (Cape Cod) 1872 Def Estab
M090 Delaware Bay 1972 Def Estab
P130 Humboldt Bay 1985 Def Estab
M070 Barnegat Bay 1968 Def Estab
M040 Long Island Sound 1905 Def Estab
M020 Narragansett Bay 2000 Def Estab
M010 Buzzards Bay 1910 Def Estab
N180 Cape Cod Bay 1905 Def Estab
MED-IX None 0 Native Estab
MED-VI None 0 Native Estab
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 1872 Def Estab
NEP-IV Puget Sound to Northern California 1985 Def Estab
B-III None 0 Native Estab
NA-ET2 Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod 1879 Def Estab
B-I None 0 Native Estab
MED-IV None 0 Native Estab
MED-VII None 0 Native Estab
MED-III None 1853 Native Estab
NEA-II None 0 Native Estab
NEA-V None 0 Native Estab
N100 Casco Bay 2013 Def Estab
N130 Great Bay 2013 Def Estab
B-IV None 0 Native Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Native Estab
MED-II None 0 Native Estab
AR-V None 0 Native Estab
NEA-III None 0 Native Estab
B-II None 0 Native Estab
MED-V None 0 Native Estab
NEP-V Northern California to Mid Channel Islands 2006 Def Estab
P070 Morro Bay 2006 Def Estab
N170 Massachusetts Bay 2001 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude

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