Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1915
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1915
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

Monocorophium insidiosum was described from Plymouth, England in 1937 (Crawford 1937), and subsequently found to range from Norway and Ireland to the Mediterranean and Black Seas (Lincoln 1979; Bellan-Santini 1982; Vader et al.1984; Oliver et al. 2006; Sezgin and Aydemir Çil 2010). However, its distributional history is complicated by its taxonomic confusion with the very similar Crassicorophium bonelli and M. acherusicum (Crawford 1937). After it was described, M. insidiosum was recognized by Shoemaker (1947) as occurring on the East Coast of the US, from Massachusetts Bay to Long Island Sound. By the 1970s, it was known from Chaleur Bay, Gulf of St. Lawrence to North Carolina (Bousfield 1973; Fox and Bynum 1975). There are later records from the Indian River Lagoon, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico (Nelson 1995; Lecroy 2004; Winfield et al. 2011). Monocorophium insidiosum is thought to be native to the North Atlantic, but it is unclear on which side of the ocean it originated (Carlton 1979; Bousfield 1973; Bousfield and Hoover 1997). Chapman (2000) suggested that it is native to the Northwest Atlantic, but the late recognition of the species and its similarity to M. acherusicum and other corophiids make the invasion history in the North Atlantic difficult to resolve.

Monocorophiumn insidiosum is known from docks, marinas, and oysters (Crawford 1937; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1952), and has been widely transported around the world. Specimens were collected on the Pacific coast of North America as early as 1915 in Washington State (Cohen and Carlton 1995), and it now ranges from British Columbia to California (Bousfield and Hoover 1997). It has been collected from Argentina (Crawford 1937), Chile (Shoemaker 1947), Hawaii (Carlton and Eldredge 2009), Japan (Bousfield and Hoover 1997), China (Hirayama 1986), and Australia (Poore and Storey 1999).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

The first known collection of Monocorophium insidiosum was from the West Coast in 1915, from a specimen found in the stomach of a duck in Oyster Bay, Puget Sound, Washington (Shoemaker 1947; Carlton 1979). This amphipod was later found in Lake Merritt, Oakland, California (CA) in 1931 (Rodholm 1932, as C. bonelli, cited by Carlton 1979), and in Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbors in 1950 by Barnard (1958). Currently, the known range is from Mission Bay, CA (1st record 2011, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2014) to Howe Sound, Straits of Georgia, British Columbia (Levings 1975, cited by Carlton 1979). In San Francisco Bay, it is known from the central, south, and San Pablo Bays, and inland as far as the Carquinez Strait (Cohen and Carlton 1995). This amphipod is present in many West Coast Bays, including Morro Bay, CA (Fairey et al. 2001); Monterey Bay/Elkhorn Slough, CA (Haderlie 1968, cited by Carlton 1979; Fairey et al. 2002); Tomales Bay, CA (1st record 1962, Johnson and Juskievice 1965, cited by Carlton 1979); Humboldt Bay, CA (1st record 2000, Boyd et al. 2002); Coos Bay, Oregon (1st record 1987, Carlton 1989; Wonham and Carlton 2005); and Willapa Bay, Washington (1st record 2000, Cohen et al. 2001).

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Monocorophium insidiosum was first collected from Hilo, on the island of Hawaii in 1959 and from Pearl Harbor, Oahu in 1978 (Coles et al. 1999b). This amphipod has also been collected from the northeast coast of Oahu, at Kaelepulu Stream, Kalua, and in Kaneohe Bay (Carlton and Eldredge 2009).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

Monocorophium insidiosum is only slightly less widespread than M. acherusicum. It has not been reported from New Zealand or from tropical ports. It has been introduced to the Northwest Pacific, where it ranges from Hong Kong to the Yellow Sea, and the southern coast of Japan (Nagata 1960; Hirayama 1986; Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Huang 2001). The earliest reported collections were near Fukuyama, Japan, on the Seto Inland Sea, but earlier occurrences may have been overlooked due to confusion with M. acherusicum and native corophiids (1955-1965, Nagata 1960). In Australian waters, it was collected in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria in 1973 and subsequently found at Port Kembla, Sydney, New South Wales; Port McDonnell Pier, South Australia; Eggs-and-Bacon Bay, Tasmania; and the Swan River estuary, Tasmania (Poore and Storey 1999). In South America, it has been introduced to both the Atlantic, in Argentina (1st record 1968, Lopez Gappa 2006; Schwindt et al. 2014), and Pacific coasts, at several locations in Chile (Shoemaker 1947; Gonzalez 1991). In Argentina, M. insidiosum ranges from Bahía Samborombón (36°S) to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego (54.8°S) (Alonso de Pina 1997; Schwindt et al. 2014). The range in Chile is from Concepcion (36.8°S) to Puerto Montt (41.5°S) (Gonzalez 1991).


Monocorophium insidiosum has a slender, depressed body with small, separated coxal plates, fused urosome segments and lacking a dorso-lateral ridge. In males, the rostrum is long, stretching ahead of the optical lobes, which are also extended forward. Antenna 2 is much heavier, but not much longer than Antenna 1. In females, the rostrum is short, not exceeding the anterior lobes, and Antenna 2 is only slightly longer and somewhat more robust than Antenna 1. In males, segments 1 and 2, of the peduncle of Antenna 1, are long and roughly equal. Segment 1 has a conical tubercle on the inner distal margin. In the female, segment 1 has 3-4 stout proximal-median spines. In males and females, segment 4 of Antenna 2 differs greatly. In males, segment 4 is greatly inflated and has a large distal tooth on the posterior side and 1-2 smaller teeth, while the female segment 4 has 3-4 stout medial spines. The female segment 5 has a large posterior-medial spine which is lacking in the male. 

The gnathopods are not especially large or conspicuous in this genus. Segment 5 of Gnathopod 1 is longer than segment 6, and the dactyl (segment 7) is slightly longer than the palm of segment 6. On Gnathopod 2, segment 5 is longer than segment 2 and the dactyl bears 3-4 prominent teeth. Pereiopods 3 and 4 have segment 2, with short setae only, and have long, backward-curving dactyls. As noted above, the urosome segments are fused, without lateral ridges. The peduncle of Uropod 1 has 2 stout spines on the inner margin. The outer ramus of Uropod 2 is about equal to the inner one. Uropod 3 is uniramous, with the ramus shorter than the peduncle. The distal margin of Uropod 2 has 1 or 2 marginal spines. Adults are 3.5-5.5 mm long. Centers of the pleonites and the segments on Antenna 2 are dark brown, mottled with white. The borders of the pleonites and most of the appendages are white. This species is marked by brown pigment between the eyes, extending onto the rostrum and extending to the back of the head. Description based on Crawford 1937, Bousfield 1973, Lincoln 1979, Bousfield and Hoover 1997, and Chapman 2007. 

Monocorophium 'oaklandense' appears to be a tripoid intersex form of M. insidiosum. It has been seen in monospecific cultures of M. insidiosum. It is marked morphologically by pairs or triads of stout spines on segment 4 of Antenna 2. It is known only from San Francisco Bay, California and laboratory cultures (Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Chapman 2007).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Malacostraca
Subclass:   Eumalacostraca
Superorder:   Peracarida
Order:   Amphipoda
Suborder:   Gammaridea
Family:   Corophiidae
Genus:   Monocorophium
Species:   insidiosum


Corophium cylindricum (Verrill and Smith, 1873)
Monocorophium insidiosum (Bousfield and Hoover, 1997)
Podocerus cylindricus (Say, 1818)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Crassicorophium bonelli
A species of uncertain taxonomic status, not reported from the Northeast Pacific, possibly a parthenogenetic form of M. acherusicum or M. insidiosum, reported from high latitudes of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, including the Northeast Pacific (Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Chapman 2007).

Monocorophium carlottensis
Northeast Pacific native, Puget Sound to Prince William Sound (Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Chapman 2007)

Monocorophium acherusicum
Native to North Atlantic, introduced to Pacific (Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Chapman 2007)

Monocorophium californianum
Northeast Pacific native, Puget Sound to Prince William Sound (Bousfield and Hoover 1997; Chapman 2007)

Monocorophium oaklandense
Possibly an intersex form of M. insidiosum (Chapman 2007)

Monocorophium uenoi
Native to Northwest Pacific, introduced from Humboldt Bay to Bahia San Quintin, Mexico (Carlton 1979; Chapman 2007).



Monocorophium inidiosum is a sedentary tube dwelling amphipod, which inhabit soft and hard substrates, as epifauna and infauna. Gammarid amphipods have separate sexes, brooded embryos, and direct development (Bousfield 1973). Juveniles are 0.76 mm at birth. Males and females mature at ~1.5 mm. Females tend to be slightly larger than males, reaching 6 mm, versus 4.5 mm for males (Birklund 1977; Delgado et al. 2009). In cold-temperate climates, breeding is seasonal, e.g. April-August in New England (Bousfield 1973), but is year-round in Mediterranean Spain (Delgado et al. 2009). Females had 1-8 embryos per individual in a Greek lagoon (Karakiri and Nicolaidou 1987), but 1-36 (mean 10.2) in the Ebro Delta, Spain (Delgado et al. 2009). Females in culture had 3-7 broods per lifetime. Maximum lifespan for both sexes decreased with increasing temperature, from 223 days at 10C to 110 days at 20C (Nair and Anger 1979).

Monocorophium insidiosum ranges from cold-temperate to subtropical climates, and tolerates ice-covered winter conditions and temperatures as high as 30C (Delgado et al. 2005). In a Greek lagoon, it was found at salinities as low as 1.6 PSU (Kevrekidis 2004), but also occurs at marine salinities (Bousfield 1973; Prato and Biandoloino 2006). In the San Francisco estuary, it occurs at least as far upstream as Suisun Bay and the lower Sacramento River (Cohen and Carlton 1995; Graening et al. 2012). Corophiid amphipods secrete threads of 'amphipod silk', to which the detritus is attached, to form its tubes. When the amphipods are abundant, the tubes form a mass in which the openings point outward or upward (Barnard 1958). The tubes can be formed on the sediment surface, or attached to fouling on vertical surfaces such as rocks or pilings, or other fouling organisms (Barnard 1958). In culture, M. insidiosum juveniles started building tubes within 20 hours after release (Fricke et al. 2015). This amphipod is a sedentary tube dweller much of the time, but does swim and occurs in the zooplankton, especially at night, or following disturbance by storms and river runoff (Grabe 1996). 'Unlike other tubicolous animals, the amphipods are not obligatorily sessile, but move in and out of their tubes in search of food and to mate. Migration rates are high among the tubicolous amphipods, as evidence by their early appearance on fresh blocks (experimental substrates)' (Barnard 1958). Reported substrates for M. insidiosum settlement include: rocks, pilings, buoys, jetties, oyster bars, seaweeds, sea-grasses, hydroids, sandy mud flats, and sandy beaches (Crawford 1937; Barnard 1958; Watling and Maurer 1972; Bousfield 1973; Sheader 1978; Fricke et al. 2015).

Moncorophium insidiosum sit at the mouths of their tubes, waving their antennae, capturing phytoplankton and organic detritus (Barnard 1958). Nair and Anger (1979) maintained this amphipod in culture on dry, powdered algae (Ulva), rotifers, and a dinoflagellate (Scrippsiella faroensis). Like other corophiid amphipods, it is probably capable of feeding on detritus and benthic microalgae on the sediment surface, and grazing on filamentous epiphytic algae growing on seaweeds and seagrasses (Bousfield 1973). Fishes and shrimps are likely predators (Nair and Anger 1979).


Phytoplankton, Detritus

Trophic Status:

Deposit Suspension Feeder



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

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)0Present in ice-covered estuaries (Bousfield 1973)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)30Maximum at field site, Spain (Delgado et al. 2009).
Minimum Salinity (‰)1.6Field Record: Monolimni Lagoon, Aegean Sea (Kevrekedis 2004)
Maximum Salinity (‰)37Greece (Karakiri and Nikolaidou 1987)
Minimum Reproductive Temperature10In culture, animals from Helgoland, Germany (Nair and Anger 1979).
Minimum Length (mm)1.7Adult males (Nair and Anger 1979; Sheader 1978, Europe)
Maximum Length (mm)6Adult female, 5.6 maximum for males, Ebro Delta, Spain (Delgado et al. 2005)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Subtropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneOligohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Monocorophium insidiosum is a widespread fouling organism on docks and floats (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1952; Barnard 1958). It reaches high abundances in many estuaries and is an important food source for fishes and shrimps (Nair and Anger 1979). This amphipod is an opportunistic suspension-feeder, and is probably an important grazer on phytoplankton and benthic microalgae.

Shipping- Barnard (1958) suggested that high densities of mat-forming fouling organisms such as corophiids (M. acherusicum; M. insidiosum) and Polydora spp. might deter the settlement of marine borers on wooden pilings in Los Angeles-Long-Beach Harbors.

Habitat Change- Barnard (1958) suggested that high densities of mat-forming fouling organisms such as corophiids (M. acherusicum; M. insidiosum) and Polydora spp. might deter the settlement of marine borers on wooden pilings in Los Angeles-Long-Beach Harbors. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958). Talman et al. (1999), suggested that the very high densities of corophiids (including M. insidiosum, Poore and Storey 1999) observed in Port Phillip Bay could decrease the stability of sediment, resulting in increased erosion.

Regional Impacts

NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958).
NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958).
P050San Pedro BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958).
P050San Pedro BayEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958).
AUS-VIIINoneEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Talman et al. (1999), suggested that the very high densities of corophiids (including M. insidiosum, Poore and Storey 1999) observed in Port Phillip Bay could decrease the stability of sediment, resulting in increased erosion.
CACaliforniaEconomic ImpactShipping/Boating
Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958)., Fouling pilings, covering them with masses of tubes covered with sediment, but perhaps a benefit by discourage boring organisms. However, M. insidiosum's abundance was about 10% of M. acherusicum's (Barnard 1958).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NA-S3 None 1973 Crypto Estab
NA-ET2 Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod 1947 Crypto Estab
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 1947 Crypto Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 1975 Crypto Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 1990 Crypto Estab
NEA-II None 1937 Crypto Estab
NEA-III None 0 Crypto Estab
B-I None 0 Crypto Estab
B-II None 0 Crypto Estab
B-III None 0 Crypto Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
NEA-V None 0 Crypto Estab
SEP-B None 1947 Def Estab
MED-I None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-II None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-III None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-VII None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-VI None 0 Crypto Estab
SA-II None 1944 Def Estab
AUS-VIII None 1973 Def Estab
AUS-VII None 1990 Def Unk
AUS-IX None 1999 Def Estab
AUS-IV None 1999 Def Estab
AUS-X None 1999 Def Estab
NEP-III Alaskan panhandle to N. of Puget Sound 1915 Def Estab
NEP-IV Puget Sound to Northern California 1987 Def Estab
NEP-V Northern California to Mid Channel Islands 1931 Def Estab
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1950 Def Estab
NWP-3b None 1955 Def Estab
SP-XXI None 1959 Def Estab
NWP-2 None 1986 Def Estab
P022 _CDA_P022 (San Diego) 2000 Def Estab
P040 Newport Bay 1951 Def Estab
P050 San Pedro Bay 1950 Def Estab
P060 Santa Monica Bay 1953 Def Estab
P080 Monterey Bay 1968 Def Estab
P090 San Francisco Bay 1931 Def Estab
P110 Tomales Bay 1961 Def Estab
P130 Humboldt Bay 2000 Def Estab
P170 Coos Bay 1987 Def Estab
P270 Willapa Bay 2000 Def Estab
P292 _CDA_P292 (San Juan Islands) 1955 Def Estab
P290 Puget Sound 1915 Def Estab
NWP-3a None 0 Def Estab
NWP-4a None 2001 Def Estab
P062 _CDA_P062 (Calleguas) 2001 Def Estab
P095 _CDA_P095 (Tomales-Drakes Bay) 1969 Def Estab
P093 _CDA_P093 (San Pablo Bay) 1931 Def Estab
P023 _CDA_P023 (San Louis Rey-Escondido) 2000 Def Estab
P070 Morro Bay 2001 Def Estab
P210 Yaquina Bay 2003 Def Estab
P230 Netarts Bay 2003 Def Estab
P240 Tillamook Bay 2003 Def Estab
CAR-II None 1986 Crypto Estab
SA-I None 1968 Def Estab
P112 _CDA_P112 (Bodega Bay) 2011 Def Estab
P030 Mission Bay 2011 Def Estab
P280 Grays Harbor 1999 Def Estab
MED-VIII None 0 Crypto Estab
MED-IX None 0 Crypto Estab
WA-I None 2005 Crypto Unk
SEP-C None 2015 Def Estab
NA-S2 None 2012 Crypto Estab
NA-ET1 Gulf of St. Lawrence to Bay of Fundy 2008 Crypto Estab
NEP-II Alaska south of the Aleutians to the Alaskan panhandle 2007 Def Unk

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
767417 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-07-19 SeaWorld Marina, Mission Bay, CA, California, USA Def 32.7676 -117.2314
767573 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-30 201 Main, Morro Bay, CA, California, USA Def 35.3564 -120.8474
767586 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-27 City Harbor, Morro Bay, CA, California, USA Def 35.3709 -120.8582
767595 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-09-05 Launch Ramp, Morro Bay, CA, California, USA Def 35.3577 -120.8508
767618 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-31 Morro Bay Marina, Morro Bay, CA, California, USA Def 35.3641 -120.8532
767649 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-09-04 Tidelands, Morro Bay, CA, California, USA Def 35.3602 -120.8521
768142 Ruiz et al., 2015 2012 2012-09-06 Loch Lomond Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.9736 -122.4802
768285 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-20 Coyote Point Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.5877 -122.3163
768323 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-23 Loch Lomond Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.9723 -122.4829
768345 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-13 Oyster Point Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.6639 -122.3821
768366 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-14 Redwood City Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.5024 -122.2134
768389 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-19 Richmond Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.9138 -122.3522
768440 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-16 Sausalito Marine Harbor, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.8611 -122.4851


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