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Introduction of the copepod Limnoithona tetraspina Zhang & Li, 1976 (Cyclopoida, Cyclopettidae) into the Shatt Al-Arab, Iraq

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The cyclopoid copepod Limnoithona tetraspina was collected for the first time in the Shatt Al-Arab, a river in Iraq, in the summer of 2009; its abundance ranged from 2-16 specimens/m3. Its distribution was restricted to the areas around Al-Sindibad Island and Al-Kornish in waters with temperatures between 27-28°C and salinities less than 4.1‰. A larger number of specimens was collected in August 2012 around Al-Sindibad Island, 134 specimens/m3, and in July 2013 around Al-Kornish, 378 specimens/m3 in waters of comparable temperatures and salinities. The copepod initially was described from the mouth of the Yangtze River, China, in 1976. It was introduced from the Yangtze River into the San Francisco Bay estuary, U.S.A., in 1993, with ship ballast water, and into the Columbia River, U.S.A., in 2003, presumably from the San Francisco Estuary. The origin of the Shatt Al-Arab population is unknown, but it is likely to have been introduced.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Marine Biology, Marine Science Centre, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq; 2: 21826 Deer Drive, McLean, VA 22101, U.S.A.


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