Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

Out of New Zealand: molecular identification of the highly invasive freshwater mollusk Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray, 1843) in South America

Gonzalo A Collado1,2

1Departamento de Ciencias Básicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Avda. Andrés Bello s/n, Casilla 447, Chillán, Chile
2Fundación Chile Natura, Santiago, Chile

Background: The New Zealand mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray, 1843) is among the most widespread non-indigenous mollusk in the world. Based on a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis, the invasion of this species to central Chile, which is also the first record of this species from South America, is reported.
Molecular analysis identified four populations of P. antipodarum in central Chile, Parque O'Higgins and Estero La Dehesa in Santiago city, and Estero Consuelo and the Chalinga River in Salamanca, a town located in a different basin. No sequence divergence was found among populations in the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. Morphological and reproductive evidence is in agreement with these findings.
Conclusions: This is the first record of P. antipodarum in the Neotropical region. All populations contained only females with embryos or juvenile snails in their brood pouches suggesting that they are viable and well established. It is important to prevent the spread of P. antipodarum to other localities in Chile and other South American countries.

Key words: Biological invasions; Caenogastropoda; Chile; COI gene; Tateidae.

*Correspondence: E-mail: gcollado@ubiobio.cl