Assessment of interspecific interactions between the invasive red-claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) and the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus).
Braz J Biol. 2019 Nov 25;:
Authors: Chivambo S, Mussagy A, Barki A
The Australian red-claw crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus, has been introduced for aquaculture purposes worldwide and consequently colonized natural environments, where it might cause ecosystem services losses or adversely affect native species and the local environment. This species was first found in Pequenos Libombos Reservoir in Maputo Province, Southern Mozambique in the late 2009 and is linked to reduction in tilapia fisheries. This study, conducted in 2015 under controlled conditions, aimed to assess the interspecific relationships between the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and the alien crayfish. For both species, no significant differences in growth and survival rates were found between animals reared in the presence versus the absence of heterospecifics, indicating no direct deleterious interspecific effects. Behavioural observations revealed that fish and crayfish competed for shelter and food. Both species reduced the foraging in the presence of heterospecifics during feeding period, in the daytime. Crayfish seemed to have an advantage in competition for shelter, suggesting that they may interfere with tilapia sheltering activity and make tilapia vulnerable to predators in natural habitats.