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Golden mussel Limnoperna fortunei (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) distribution in the main hydrographical basins of Uruguay: update and predictions

Keywords: invasive mollusk , biogeography , salinity , Uruguay

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Limnoperna fortunei, an Asiatic rivers bivalve has become a worldwide problematic invasive species causing several water quality and macrofouling problems. In the Neotropical region it was first recorded in 1991 in the Río de la Plata coast, Buenos Aires province. Since this, it showed a quick upstream invasion into the principals aquatic systems of the Plata Basin. Nevertheless, there is not a study about its invasion and distribution process in aquatic systems of Uruguay. We describe the new records of Limnoperna fortunei in Uruguayan coast of Río de la Plata, Santa Lucía, Negro and Uruguay Rivers. With these results we aim to estimate its distributional limits for Uruguay main hydrographical basins. We also deal with the role of salinity as the main abiotic factor in limiting the east distribution of this mussel in Uruguayan coast of Río de la Plata and as a potential determinant of the "new" colonization on the Atlantic and the Merín Lagoon Basins. Its presence in the ecosystems not only can cause changes at the ecosystem level but also endanger the associated community, favoring the displacement and the disappearance of endemic species.


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