08 July 2019

Weiperth and colleagues, 2019

Weiperth A, Gál B, Kuøíková P, Langrová I, Kouba A, Patoka J. 2019. Risk assessment of pet-traded decapod crustaceans in Hungary with evidence of Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens, 1868) in the wild. North–Western Journal of Zoology 15(1): 42-47. http://biozoojournals.ro/nwjz/content/v15n1/nwjz_e171303_Weiperth.pdf


The pet trade is one of the most important sources of introduction of freshwater non-native decapod crustaceans. Precise and timely identification of potentially hazardous species is necessary for the effective prevention of new introductions. Here, we present a list of species of ornamental freshwater decapod crustaceans pet-traded in Hungary and their risk assessment, including the probability of establishment based on climate matching. The list contains 13 shrimps, eight crayfish, two crabs, and one hermit crab. Three crayfish, Cherax destructor, Procambarus clarkii, P. virginalis, and one crab, Eriocheir sinensis, were classified in the high-risk category. During field sampling, we found three individuals of C. quadricarinatus that were probably released or escaped from aquaria. These are the first records of this species in the wild of Carpathian Basin. We strongly recommend further educating hobbyists about the risks related to the escapes and releases of high-risk taxa, as well as monitoring of the region for their occurrence.

Keywords: Carpathian Basin • crayfish • crab • hermit crab • invasiveness • ornamental animal • redclaw • shrimp

Vogt and colleagues, 2019

Vogt G, Dorn NJ, Pfeiffer M, Lukhaup C, Williams BW, Schulz R, Schrimpf A. 2019. The dimension of biological change caused by autotriploidy: A meta-analysis with triploid crayfish Procambarus virginalis and its diploid parent Procambarus fallax. Zoologischer Anzeiger 281: 53-67. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcz.2019.06.006


The biological changes caused by autotriploidy are poorly studied in animals. To investigate this issue in depth, we compared genetics, morphology, life history, ecology and behaviour of the triploid marbled crayfish and its diploid parent, slough crayfish Procambarus fallax. We performed a meta-analysis of our data and literature data. Our COI based molecular tree, consisting of 27 species of Cambaridae, confirmed the close taxonomic relationship between marbled crayfish and P. fallax. Comparison of both crayfish revealed similarities in mitochondrial gene sequences, morphological characters, colouration, body proportions and behaviours. Considerable differences were recorded with respect to chromosome number in somatic cells, haploid genome size, DNA methylation level, body size, fecundity, longevity, population size structure, invasiveness, and the range of inhabited biomes. These differences have dimensions that are otherwise only observed between species supporting earlier proposed raising of marbled crayfish from P. fallax forma virginalis to a new species named Procambarus virginalis. Particularly noteworthy is the enhancement of the fitness traits that probably resulted from evolutionary changes in gene expression. These alterations and the transition from sexual reproduction to parthenogenesis are likely responsible for the increased invasiveness of marbled crayfish in tropical to cold-temperate biomes.

Keywords: autopolyploidy • marbled crayfish • genetics • morphology • life history • ecology

24 June 2019

Announcement: 23rd International Association of Astacology symposium

The 23rd International Association of Astacology symposium will be hosted the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic from June 29 to July 3, 2020.

The symposium will be held in Hotel Štekl, near the beautiful Hluboká nad Vltavou Château (pictured).

Planned topics including species diversity and distribution, conservation, physiology, genetics, ecology, ethology, diseases, fishery and aquaculture.

In addition to the scientific program, events will include trips to the experimental facilities of the University of South Bohemia, natural crayfish locality in the Šumava National Park, the Hluboká nad Vltavou Château, beer tasting with the Budweiser Budvar Brewery, the Český Krumlov UNESCO Heritage castle, and wooden rafting.

Abstract submission runs from 1 December 2019 to 15 April 2020.

Early registration deadline: 31 March 2020
Regular registration: 30 April 2020Late registration: 31 May 2020

External links

23rd Symposium of the International Association of Astacology

17 June 2019

Hossain and colleagues, 2019b

Hossain MS, Kubec J, Grabicová K, Grabic R, Randák T, Guo W, Kouba A, Buřič M. 2019. Environmentally relevant concentrations of methamphetamine and sertraline modify the behavior and life history traits of an aquatic invertebrate. Aquatic Toxicology 213: 105222. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2019.105222


Pharmaceutically active compounds are major contaminants of aquatic environments that show direct and indirect effects on aquatic organisms even at low concentrations. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of the illicit drug methamphetamine and the antidepressant sertraline on clonal marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis. Crayfish exposed to the environmentally relevant concentrations of methamphetamine of ∼1 μg L−1 did not exhibit significant differences from unexposed controls in distance moved, velocity, and activity level with or without available shelter. Sertraline-exposed (∼1 μg L−1) crayfish were significantly more active, regardless of available shelter, and moved greater distances when shelter was available, compared to control crayfish. Crayfish exposed to methamphetamine and sertraline spent significantly more time outside the shelters compared to controls. Sertraline-exposed crayfish spawned more frequently and showed higher mortality than controls. The results suggest that the low environmental concentrations of the tested compounds could alter the behavior and life history traits of crayfish, resulting in higher reproductive effort and mortality.

Keywords: aquatic pollutants • behavior • crayfish • life history traits • pharmaceuticals • Procambarus virginalis

07 June 2019

Updates from Denmark

It’s rare for crayfish news to get a follow-up, but the first record of Marmorkrebs in Denmark has attracted more attention by doing what Marmorkrebs do: reproducing.

Danish Marmorkrebs in berry

With the help of a Google Translate and guesswork (“crayfish” seems to translate into a lot of weird English words), I think the article says (in part):

It was bad news for the Danish nature when a marbled crayfish was found in Karup Å near Skive in February. It was the first time that the marbled crayfish was found in Denmark.

In other countries, the crayfish has done a lot of damage to nature, as it can fertilize itself and eat almost everything on its way. So since then, it has been kept in captivity at Aqua Aquarium in Silkeborg. Now it has succeeded in cloning itself and thus getting six kids.

If it first gets hold of the watercourses in Denmark, it is completely hopeless to stop it again, says Morten Vissing, is a zoologist at Aqua Aquarium and Animal Park.

“You have seen many strange things, but this is one of the things that hit everything. After all, it is not an animal that exists naturally. You have taken some animals from nature, and you have bred in colors and sizes. Then one has reached a species where today only females exist, and they are then able to clone themselves. It’s incredibly mysterious,” says Morten Vissing.

The marbled crayfish is the only species of crab known to reproduce asexually.

Vissing seems to imply that Marmorkrebs were bred deliberately, which is probably not the case. And either Vissing or the newspaper should read about spinycheek crayfish, which can reproduce asexually.

Related posts

Nothing like a Dane: the European invasion continues

External links

Den uønskede marmorkrebs har klonet sig selv (The unwanted marbled crayfish has cloned itself)

Celebrate diversity: Another member of Club Asexual

Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)

The list of parthenogenetic species slowly inches up. This time, it’s the Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) that continues increasing the list.

According to an interview on NPR, this discovery was made almost by happenstance. The policy of the zoo where the animals was kept was to toss unfertilized eggs. But someone thought, “Let’s try incubating them. It doesn’t take any time.”

Thus are discoveries made. Most eggs went bad, but the Asian water dragon’s... did not.

This makes me wonder just how many more species are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction, and if there is a way to systematically test for this instead of just hoping for lucky accidents. 


KL Miller, Castañeda Rico S, Muletz-Wolz CR, Campana MG, McInerney N, Augustine L, Frere C, Peters AM, Fleischer RC. 2019. Parthenogenesis in a captive Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) identified with novel microsatellites. PLOS ONE 14(6): e0217489. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217489

External links

05 June 2019

Lipták and colleagues, 2019

Lipták B, Veselý L, Ercoli F, Bláha M, Buric M, Ruokonen TJ, Kouba A. Trophic role of marbled crayfish in a lentic freshwater ecosystem. Aquatic Invasions 14(2): 299-309. https://doi.org/10.3391/ai.2019.14.2.09


Species’ introductions may cause severe adverse effects on freshwater ecosystems and their biota. The marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017, is an invasive parthenogenetically reproducing crayfish with rapid reproduction, maturation and tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions, which was introduced to many sites across Europe during the last decade. Due to its recent speciation and limited number of field studies, the knowledge of trophic interactions of the marbled crayfish in freshwater food webs is scarce. An invaded area located in Central Europe was studied to identify the marbled crayfish food web interactions using analysis of carbon 13C and nitrogen 15N isotopes. This study brings the first insight into the trophic ecology of marbled crayfish in lentic freshwater ecosystems. Algae and detritus were identified as the most important food sources for the marbled crayfish, while zoobenthos and macrophytes were less important. Moreover, the marbled crayfish was found to be an important food source for top fish predators, but marginal for omnivorous fish. Being able to utilize energy from the bottom of the trophic food web, the marbled crayfish may have important roles in the ecosystem, transferring energy to higher trophic levels. It processes allochthonous and autochthonous matter in the ecosystem, thus being a competitor to other organisms with similar food preferences and impacting zoobenthos, algae and macrophytes through predation or direct consumption. To sum up, the marbled crayfish has a strong ability to utilize food sources from different trophic levels, and, thanks to its life history, can be a highly adaptable invader.

Keywords: biological invasion • Central Europe • parthenogenetic species •
Procambarus virginalis • stable isotope