In order to detect the possible regulatory effect of non-native C. gigas on the native O. edulis, under aquaculture conditions, feeding interactions between them were investigated in a highly productive environment of Lim Bay (Adriatic Sea). The present study uses a multi-methodological approach, including stomach content, DNA barcoding and stable isotope analysis to elucidate the feeding ecology of two oyster species. The research confirmed a high overlap throughout the year in the feeding traits among native and non-native oyster species. Competition for food was not the only relationship that exists between the investigated species as the presence of O. edulis larvae in C. gigas stomach content was confirmed by DNA analysis. Findings are not in favour of introducing C. gigas to commercial aquaculture in any new areas in the Adriatic Sea and support the need to improve the existing O. edulis aquaculture and conserve its wild stocks.
Keywords: DNA barcoding; Larviphagy; Magallana gigas; Mediterranean sea; Non-indigenous species; Plankton; Stable isotope; Stomach content.
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