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Common Hull Fouling Invasive Species

 

The table below provides a list of high-profile Invasive Aquatic Species that are capable of being translocated via biofouling. This list is indicative and there are numerous other species involved in serious invasions which have been recorded around the world.

Name

Native to

Introduced to

Impact

Asian paddle crab

Charybdis japonica

Ranges from the North-west Pacific (China, Japan, Korea) to the east Asian Seas (Thailand, Malaysia)

New Zealand; detected but not established in Australia

May carry the White Spot Syndrome virus which can affect crustacean mariculture. Can affect biodiversity through either predation or by indirectly altering trophic levels.

Colonial tunicate

Didemnum vexillum

North-west Pacific

North-east and north-west Atlantic, north-east Pacific, New Zealand

This species is an aggressive invader and is able to reproduce sexually or asexually. Fragments of the species are able to disperse, reproduce, reattach and thrive. This species fouls hydrotechnical constructions, ships, aquaculture infrastructure and cultured molluscs. It affects the biodiversity of existing communities as it outcompetes for habitat or simply grows over or smothers existing species.

North Pacific seastar

Asterias amurensis

North-west Pacific

North-east Pacific, Southern Australia

This species is a voracious carnivorous feeder. They are prolific breeders and are able to quickly establish large populations in new areas. The species is a serious pest to native species, such as the endangered spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), as the seastar preys on the fish’s egg masses. The species preference for mussels, scallops and clams ensures that it impacts mollusc aquaculture and wild fisheries.

Asian green mussel

Perna viridis

Occurs from the Persian Gulf through to the Philippines, throughout the East Asian Seas and up to eastern China

The Caribbean, South Atlantic, South Pacific; detected in far North Queensland, Australia but not established

Tolerates wide fluctuations of salinity and temperature and reaches high densities. This species fouls hydrotechnical constructions, ships and aquaculture infrastructure. It affects the biodiversity of existing communities and can alter trophic levels.

Black striped mussel

Mytilopsis sallei

North-west Atlantic, the Caribbean and South Atlantic

India, East Asian Seas (Malaysia, Singapore), South Pacific, North-west Pacific (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong); was detected in Darwin, Australia but eradicated

Tolerates wide fluctuations of salinity and temperature. Highly fecund, grows and reaches maturity rapidly. This species is capable of forming dense aggregations, impacting biodiversity as they exclude most other species. The fouling of hydrotechnical constructions, ships and aquaculture infrastructure with this species causes corrosion, technical problems and loss of efficiency.

European fan worm

Sabella spallanzanii

North-east Atlantic, Mediterranean

South-west Atlantic, Southern Australia, New Zealand, North-west Pacific

This species is highly fecund and is able to form mat-like, dense populations on the seafloor. The species can tolerate wide ranges in salinity and successfully fouls artificial structures such as hydrotechnical constructions, vessels and aquaculture infrastructure. The species competes with native filter-feeding organisms for habitat and food. It is possible that dense formations alter water flow, sediment stability and bacterial communities due to their efficiency filtering particulate matter from the water column.

Bay barnacle

Amphibalanus improvisus

Thought to be the east coast of North-east and North-west Atlantic

South-west Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, North-west Pacific, East Asia Seas; detected but not established in Australia and New Zealand

This species is fast growing and gregarious. It has high reproductive potential; being able to re-produce sexually and asexually. Tolerates wide fluctuations of salinity and temperature. The fouling of hydrotechnical constructions, ships and aquaculture infrastructure with this species causes corrosion, technical problems and loss of efficiency. Able to affect biodiversity, change community structures and alter trophic levels.

Wakame seaweed

Undaria pinnatifida

North-west Pacific

Mediterranean, North-east Atlantic, South-west Atlantic, North-east Pacific, South-east Australia, New Zealand

This species is able to rapidly colonise temperate regions; it can colonise any hard surface and is therefore able to foul hydrotechnical constructions, ships and aquaculture infrastructure. Able to affect biodiversity, change community structures and alter trophic levels.

European shore crab 

Carcinus maenas

North-east Atlantic, The Baltic Sea

West Africa (Mauritania to South Africa), Mediterranean, North-west Atlantic (Delaware to Nova Scotia), South-west Atlantic (Panama to Argentina), East Africa (Red Sea to South Africa; including Madagascar), North-west Pacific (Japan), North-east Pacific (South-east Alaska to California), East Asian Seas (Burma), Central Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka), South Pacific, South-eastern Australia

The adult specimens of this species are able to withstand wide ranging temperature and salinity fluctuations. It is able to reside in damp air exposed environments for up to 10 days and tolerate up to 3 months of starvation. However, when able to feed, this species is a voracious predator, preying on molluscs and other crustaceans, including commercially important species. Apart from impacting on native species through predation, this species disrupts existing community structures through competition (habitat and food) and behavioural activities (burrowing).