Advertisement

Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 463–469 | Cite as

Possible cryptic invasion of the Western Pacific toxic population of the hydromedusa Gonionemus vertens (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa) in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean

  • Annette F. Govindarajan
  • Mary R. Carman
Original Paper

Abstract

We describe a possible cryptic invasion of the toxic Western Pacific hydromedusa Gonionemus vertens (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa, Limnomedusae) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. G. vertens was first noticed in Eel Pond in Woods Hole (Cape Cod), Massachusetts in 1894, but nearly disappeared in the 1930s, coincident with a large scale die-off of its preferred eelgrass habitat. During the 1894–1930 period, G. vertens was the object of numerous studies by local scientists, and was not reported as stinging. In contrast, Western Pacific G. vertens are known for their toxic sting symptoms, which include severe pain, respiratory distress, and paralysis. Here, we report new sightings in the northwest Atlantic from the late twentieth century onwards. Sightings are most frequent in Waquoit Bay on the southern-facing shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, but medusae have also been found in locations ranging from Long Island (New York) to Wellfleet Harbor on the north side of Cape Cod. We also describe reports of stings with symptoms similar to those produced by the toxic Western Pacific strain. The first sting report that we are aware of occurred in 1990 in Waquoit Bay, and stings have since occurred in most of G. vertens’ known Northwest Atlantic locations. It appears likely that the recent sightings associated with toxic stings represent a new, cryptic invasion of the Western Pacific form. These new observations are cause for public health concern, particularly as warmer temperatures associated with climate change may promote G. vertens blooms and thus the likelihood of dangerous human-jellyfish interactions in a populated, tourism-dependent region.

Keywords

Gonionemus Hydrozoa Jellyfish Medusae Toxicity Cryptic invasion Western North Atlantic 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank L. Deegan, E. Enos, B. Grossman, and I. Valiela (Marine Biological Laboratory), H. Golden (University of Connecticut), D. Grunden (Town of Oak Bluffs Shellfish Department; Friends of Farm Pond), N.T. Evans (Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries), H. Bayley (Cape Cod National Seashore), P. Colarusso (EPA), E. Nelson (EPA), K. Manzo (Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County), C. Weidman (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve), R. York (Town of Mashpee Shellfish Department), P. Larsen (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences), L. Harris (University of New Hampshire), and A. Borror (Shoals Marine Laboratory) for sharing their medusa observations and sting accounts. D. Blackwood (USGS) and K. Rathjen (Normandeau Associates) assisted with fieldwork. We also thank J.T. Carlton, D. Calder and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Funding was received from the Community Preservation Committee of Oak Bluffs and the Adelaide M. and Charles B. Link Foundation.

References

  1. Agassiz L (1862) Contributions to the natural history of the United States of America, vol 4. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, p 330Google Scholar
  2. Ashton GV, Stevens MI, Hart MC, Green DH, Burrows MT, Cook EJ, Willis KJ (2008) Mitochondrial DNA reveals multiple northern hemisphere introductions of Caprella mutica (Crustacea, Amphipoda). Mol Ecol 17(5):1293–1303CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakker C (1980) On the distribution of ‘Gonionemus vertens’ A. Agassiz (Hydrozoa, Limnomedusae), a new species in the eelgrass beds of Lake Grevelingen (S.W. Netherlands). Hydrobiol Bull 14(3):186–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carlton JT (1985) Transoceanic and interoceanic dispersal of coastal marine organisms: the biology of ballast water. Oceanogr Mar Biol 23:313–371Google Scholar
  5. Eastwood M, Quinby K, Bogdanowicz C, Seeley RH, Weeks H, Bemis WE (2009) Borror’s species checklist for the Isles of Shoals archipelago. Shoals Marine Laboratory, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  6. Edwards C (1976) A study in erratic distribution: the occurrence of the medusa Gonionemus in relation to the distribution of oysters. Adv Mar Biol 14:251–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Geller JB, Darling JA, Carlton JT (2010) Genetic perspectives on marine biological invasions. Ann Rev Mar Sci 2:367–393CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gershwin L, Richardson AJ, Winkel KD, Fenner PJ, Lippmann J, Hore R, Avila-Soria G, Brewer D, Kloser RJ, Steven A, Condie S (2003) Biology and ecology of Irukandji jellyfish (Cnidaria: Cubozoa). Adv Mar Biol 66:1–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gordon CE (1915) Gonionemus murbachii Mayer. Science 41(1044):26CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Hargitt CW (1897) Recent experiments on regeneration. Zool Bull 1(1):27–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hargitt CW (1900) Variation among hydromedusæ. Science 12(296):340–342CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson CH, Winston JE, Woollacott RM (2012) Western Atlantic introduction and persistence of the marine bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata. Aquat Invasions 7(3):295–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kehrl B (2010) Mini jellies in Sedge Lot Pond pack a mega punch. The Enterprise (Falmouth, MA) July 30 2010 (http://www.capenews.net/mashpee/mini-jellies-in-sedge-lot-pond-pack-a-mega-punch/article_4ca651b9-ccd6-5165-9582-71ac9f85ec64.html, Accessed Sept 2015)
  14. Kehrl B (2012) Stinging jellyfish return to Sedge Lot Pond in Mashpee. The Enterprise (Falmouth, MA). 29 June 2012 (http://archive.capenews.net/communities/mashpee/news/1930), Accessed Oct 2015)
  15. Kramp PL (1959) The Hydromedusae of the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters. Dana Rep 46:1–283Google Scholar
  16. Lejeusne C, Bock DG, Therriault TW, MacIsaac HJ, Cristescu ME (2011) Comparative phylogeography of two colonial ascidians reveals contrasting invasion histories in North America. Biol Invasions 13(3):635–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lima FP, Wethey DS (2012) Three decades of high-resolution coastal sea surface temperatures reveal more than warming. Nat Commun 3:704CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Linkletter LE, Lord EI, Dadswell MJ (1977) A checklist and catalogue of marine fauna and flora of the lower Bay of Fundy of New Brunswick. Huntsman Marine Laboratory, St. AndrewsGoogle Scholar
  19. Mathieson AC, Dawes CJ, Pederson J, Gladych RA, Carlton JT (2008) The Asian red seaweed Grateloupia turuturu (Rhodophyta) invades the Gulf of Maine. Biol Invasions 10(7):985–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mayer AG (1910) Medusae of the world. The Hydromedusae, vol II. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication, Washington D.C, p 109Google Scholar
  21. McDermott JJ (1998) The Western Pacific brachyuran (Hemigrapsus sanguineus: Grapsidae), in its new habitat along the Atlantic coast of the United States: geographic distribution and ecology. ICES J Mar Sci J du Cons 55(2):289–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Murbach L (1895) Preliminary note on the life-history of Gonionemus. J Morphol 11(2):493–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murbach L (1909) Some light reactions of the medusa Gonionemus. Biol Bull 17(5):354–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Naumov DV (1960) Hydroids and hydromedusae of the USSR. Keys to the Fauna of the USSR, Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 70. Translated from Russian by the Israel Program for Scientific TranslationsGoogle Scholar
  25. Perkins HF (1903) The development of Gonionema Murbachii. Proc Acad Nat Sci Phila 54:750–790Google Scholar
  26. Perkins LF, Larsen PF (1975) A preliminary checklist of the marine and estuarine invertebrates of Maine. TRIGOM Publication No. 10. The Research Institute of the Gulf of Maine, Portland, ME. p 37Google Scholar
  27. Pigulevsky SV, Michaleff PV (1969) Poisoning by the medusa Gonionemus vertens in the Sea of Japan. Toxicon 7(2):145–149CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Rodriguez CS, Pujol MG, Mianzan HW, Genzano GN (2014) First record of the invasive stinging medusa Gonionemus vertens in the southern hemisphere (Mar del Plata, Argentina). Lat Am J Aquat Res 42(3):653–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rugh R (1929) Egg laying habits of Gonionemus murbachii in relation to light. Biol Bull 57(5):261–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rugh R (1930) Variations in Gonionemus murbachii. Am Nat 64(690):93–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schuchert P (2015) World Hydrozoa database. http://www.marinespecies.org/hydrozoa. Accessed at 10 Aug 2015
  32. Smith RI (1964) Keys to marine invertebrates of the Woods Hole region: a manual for the identification of the more common marine invertebrates. Systematics-Ecology Program, Marine Biological Laboratory Contribution No. 11, Woods Hole, pp 208Google Scholar
  33. Stefaniak L, Lambert G, Gittenberger A, Zhang H, Lin S, Whitlatch RB (2009) Genetic conspecificity of the worldwide populations of Didemnum vexillum Kott, 2002. Aquat Invasions 4(1):29–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tambs-Lyche H (1964) Gonionemus vertens L. Agassiz (Limnomedusae)—a zoogeographical puzzle. Sarsia 15:1–8Google Scholar
  35. Teissier G (1950) Note sur quelques Hydrozoaires de Roscoff. Arch Zool Exp Gen 87(1):1–10Google Scholar
  36. Thiel M, Gutow L (2005) The ecology of rafting in the marine environment. II. The rafting organisms and community. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 43:279–418Google Scholar
  37. Thomas LJ (1921) Morphology and orientation of the otocysts of Gonionemus. Biol Bull 40(6):287–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Trott TJ (2004) Late 20th-century qualitative intertidal faunal changes in Cobscook Bay, Maine. Northeast Nat 11(sp2):325–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Uchida T (1976) A new sporozoan-like reproduction in the hydromedusa, Gonionemus vertens. Proc Jpn Acad 52(71):387–388Google Scholar
  40. Warkentine BE, Rachlin JW (2012) Palaemon macrodactylus Rathbun 1902 (oriental hhrimp) in New York: status revisited. Northeast Nat 19(sp6):173–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Werner B (1950) Die Meduse Gonionemus murbachi Mayer im Sylter Wattenmeer. Zool Jahrb (Systematic) 78:471–505Google Scholar
  42. Yakovlev YM, Vaskovsky VE (1993) The toxic krestovik medusa Gonionemus vertens. Russian J Mar Biol 19(5–6):287–294Google Scholar
  43. Yakovlev YM, Vaskovsky VE (1996) Anthozoans, scyphozoans, and hydrozoans. In: Williamson JA, Burnett JW, Fenner PJ, Rifkin J (eds) Venomous and poisonous marine animals: a medical and biological handbook. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, pp 201–206Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

Personalised recommendations