Scientia Marina, Vol 84, No 2 (2020)

Widespread demographic explosion of a non-indigenous hydrozoan on an oceanic island

Fernando Espino
Grupo de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, IU-ECOAQUA, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Francisco J. Otero-Ferrer
Grupo de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, IU-ECOAQUA, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Néstor E. Bosch
School of Biological Sciences, UWA Oceans Institute, Australia

Josep Coca
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Ricardo Haroun
Grupo de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, IU-ECOAQUA, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Fernando Tuya
Grupo de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, IU-ECOAQUA, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain


The arrival of non-indigenous species into new areas is one of the main processes altering the oceans globally. Macrorhynchia philippina is a large-sized colonial hydrozoan of an invasive nature. To obtain a deeper understanding of the process of colonization of new areas, it is essential to describe the ecological pattern through scales of temporal and spatial variation. In this study, we describe the colonization by M. Philippina of an oceanic island (Gran Canaria Island, Canary Islands, eastern Atlantic). We describe the abundance and size structure patterns of M. Philippina in three nearshore habitats, rocky reefs, seagrass meadows and rhodolith seabeds, at times before (2014), during (2016) and after (2017) the demographic explosion of this species. On rocky reefs and rhodolith seabeds, the abundance of colonies increased dramatically in 2017 rel­ative to 2014, e.g. from 0 to 138 colonies/100 m2. On seagrass meadows, however, the colonies were smaller. In summary, M. Philippina shows an ecological plasticity to rapidly colonize different types of nearshore habitats, but with varying success.


non-indigenous species; hydrozoan; colonization; nearshore habitats; Canary Islands

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