Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this invader are not yet fully understood. It competes with native daphnia for food and of its ability to avoid predation (U.S.EPA 2008).
Studies that have compared native Daphnia to the exotic D. lumholtzi have found that competition between these species is lower than expected. D. lumholtzi is a tropical species, and is adapted to warmer temperatures than native North American Daphnia. Thus D. lumholtzi population sizes tend to rise in late summer when native Daphnia populations are dropping. Thus D. lumholtzi tends to fill a vacant "temporal niche" in the warmer summer months (Johnson and Havel 2001; Work and Gophen 1999; Dzialowski et al. 2000; Goulden et al. 1995; East et al. 1999). Dzialowski et al. (2000) hypothesized that by occupying a niche that was previously unexploited by Daphnia, D. lumholtzi competed with non-daphnid zooplankton otherwise able to obtain resources during that time. One such zooplankter was Diaphanasoma, whose population was found to be significantly lower in reservoirs of Kansas where D. lumholtzi had invaded (Dzialowski et al. 2000). If D. lumholzi has a negative impact on other native zooplankton populations in late summer, this may have a detrimental effect on fishes that depend on zooplankton at that time period but are not able to handle the spines of D. lumholtzi.
Larval and juvenile stages of fish that overlap with high D. lumholtzi populations are more likely to be negatively impacted by D. lumtoltzi due to gape limitation (Kolar and Wahl 1998). Leinesch and Gophen (2001) noted that fish large enough to handle D. lumholtzi spines would have a new prey item with a larger overall body size than the zooplankton normally present in the later summer months. Lemke et al. (2003) studied four fish species that consumed more D. lumholtzi as fish size increased (blue gill, white bass, white crappie, and black crappie of Lake Chautauqua, Illinois). Silversides (Menidia beryllina) may be able to utilize this new prey item and survive longer during their late summer spawning period (Leinesch and Gophen 2001). Leinesch and Gophen (2001) hypothesized that when growing juvenile fish become capable of handling D. lumholtzi, the fish can grow more rapidly and reduce their risk of predation.
References: (click for full references)
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Havel, J.E. - Missouri State University, Springfield, MO.
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This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.