Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The lack of quantitative data on the environmental tolerances of the early life-history stages of invading species hinders estimation of their dispersal rates and establishment ranges in receptor environments. We present data on salinity tolerance for all stages of the ontogenetic larval development of the invading predatory gastropod Rapana venosa, and we propose that salinity tolerance is the dominant response controlling the potential dispersal ( = invasion) range of the species into the estuaries of the Atlantic coast of the United States from the current invading epicenter in the southern Chesapeake Bay. All larval stages exhibit 48-h tolerance to salinities as low as 15 ppt with minimal mortality. Below this salinity, survival grades to lower values. Percentage survival of R. venosa veligers was significantly less at 7 ppt than at any other salinity. There were no differences in percentage survival at salinities greater than 16 ppt. We predict that the counterclockwise, gyre-like circulation within the Chesapeake Bay will initially distribute larvae northward along the western side of the Del- MarVa peninsula, and eventually to the lower sections of all major subestuaries of the western shore of the Bay. Given the observed salinity tolerances and the potential for dispersal of planktonic larvae by coastal currents, establishment of this animal over a period of decades from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras is a high probability
Mann, Roger L. and Harding, Juliana M., Salinity Tolerance of Larval Rapana venosa: Implications for Dispersal and Establishment of an Invading Predatory Gastropod on the North American Atlantic Coast (2003). Biological Bulletin, 204(1), 96-101.