The Peruvian jingle shell, Anomia peruviana d’Orbigny, 1846 is native to the Eastern Pacific including Panama. During recent surveys of Panama’s marine fauna using settlement plates, we discovered A. peruviana in Limon Bay, near the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal.
We confirmed our initial morphological identifications using partial sequences of the COI barcode locus. All Anomia individuals collected on the settlement plates from Atlantic and Pacific Panama were confirmed to be A. peruviana, which is genetically distinct from the native Atlantic A. simplex. We suspect A. peruviana was transported through the Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic attached as hull fouling on vessels or recreational boats. Salinity tolerance experiments in the laboratory showed that all individuals in the seawater control survived while 25% survived a 12-hour exposure to freshwater from Gatun Lake, confirming that some A. peruviana individuals can survive even the estimated maximum transit of up to 12 hours through the Panama Canal.
Schlöder, C., Canning-Clode, J., Saltonstall, K., Strong E. E., Ruiz, G. M., and Torchin, M.E. 2013. The Pacific bivalve Anomia peruviana in the Atlantic: a recent invasion across the Panama Canal? Aquatic Invasions, 8(4): 443-448. doi:10.3391/ai.2013.8.4.08