Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: California
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Malakauskas, D. M., and M. Wilzbach. 2012. Invertebrate assemblages in the lower Klamath River, with reference to Manayunkia speciosa. California Fish and Game 98(4):214-235; 2012.


The freshwater polychaete, Manayunkia speciosa Leidy (Canalipalpata Sabellidae), is the intermediate host for two myxozoan pathogens (Ceratomyxa shasta and Parvicapsula minibicornis) that cause substantial mortalities of juvenile salmon in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam in California. Information on the distribution of M. speciosa in the Klamath River may facilitate targeted control of polychaete populations to disrupt the parasites that affect fish populations. We sampled invertebrate assemblages in the lower Klamath River in the summer and fall of 2005 and 2006 to estimate distribution patterns of M. speciosa and to characterize assemblage structure of invertebrates in reaches where the polychaete was both collected and not collected. The polychaete was most often found in a reach of river extending 100 km downstream from the Shasta River (river km 185-287). The reach in which it was found supported high taxonomic richness of invertebrates and a high abundance of filtering collectors including marine relicts such as sponges, unioinid mussels, and bryozoans. We suggest that the large, stable substrate on which these were found represents primary, optimal habitat for the polychaete, also a marine relict. Reaches above and below the zone where we collected polychaetes showed a general trend of reduced taxonomic richness as distance away from the polychaete zone increased, and also showed differing relative abundances of non-insect taxa and functional feeding groups. Differences in invertebrate assemblages between years were coincident with large differences in water flows. We suggest flows and food resources may play important roles in invertebrate distribution patterns.