10 March 2023

Kor and colleagues 2023

Logo for PeerJ - Life and Environment
Kor G, Mengal K, Buřič M, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2023. Comparative ultrastructure of the antennae and sensory hairs in six species of crayfish. PeerJ 11: e15006. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.15006 





Antennae in crayfish are essential for gaining information about the local topography and localising food, chemicals, conspecifics or predator. There are still gaps in the research on the morphology of antennae in decapods compared to other arthropods.



Biometrical and ultrastructural methods were applied using light and cryo-scanning electron microscopies to study the morphology of antennae in six different crayfish species, including marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, Mexican dwarf crayfish Cambarellus patzcuarensis, red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, common yabby Cherax destructor, and spiny-cheek crayfish Faxonius limosus to find their potential morphological differences.



Significant differences in the antenna length, length and width of each segment to carapace length ratios, and the number of segments were found in the six crayfish species. The ultrastructure revealed differences in the distribution of sensory hairs on the antenna and the morphology of the antennal surface.



The different morphology of antennae might reflect adaptation to the conditions of their specific habitats. In addition, results showed that a combination of differences in the morphological features and biometrical measurements of antennae could be used for the distinguishment of different studied crayfish species.


Keywords: antenna • arthropods • biometry • electron microscopy • morphology • crustaceans

Open access

19 February 2023

Mengal and colleagues, 2023

Cover to Developmental and Comparative Immunology

Mengal K, Kor G, Kouba A, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2023. Hemocyte coagulation and phagocytic behavior in early stages of injury in crayfish (Arthropoda: Decapoda) affect their morphology. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 141: 104618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2022.104618


Crustacean hemocytes are important mediators of immune functions such as coagulation and phagocytosis. We employed an in situ approach to investigate the ultrastructural behavior of hemocytes during coagulation and phagocytosis in the early stages after injury caused by leg amputation, using transmission electron microscopy technique in marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis. Hemocytes underwent drastic morphological changes during coagulation. The morphology of the cytoplasmic granules changed from electron-dense to electron-lucent forms in an expanding manner. The transformed granules containing amorphous electron-lucent material were observed to merge and discharge their contents into extracellular space for coagulation. We also observed that the contents of the nucleus participate in the process of coagulation. In addition, leg amputation induced extensive muscle degeneration and necrotic tissues were avidly taken up by the phagocytic hemocytes containing distinct phagosomes. Interestingly, we observed for the first time how the digested contents of phagocytized necrotic tissues are incorporated into granules and other cellular components that change the cell morphology by increasing the granularity of the hemocytes. Nevertheless, the degranulation of hemocytes during coagulation can also reduce their granularity. Given that morphological traits are important criteria for hemocyte classification, these morphological changes that occur during coagulation and phagocytosis must be taken into account.

Keywords: degranulation • hemolymph coagulation • muscle degeneration • phagocytosis

07 January 2023

Marbled crayfish on TikTok

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I’m not a big TikTok user, but a research search came up with a decently long list of Marmorkrebs videos on TikTok.

01 January 2023

Vogt 2023

Logo for journal Epigenomes.

Vogt G. 2023. Environmental adaptation of genetically uniform organisms with the help of epigenetic mechanisms—An insightful perspective on ecoepigenetics. Epigenomes 7(1): 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes7010001


Organisms adapt to different environments by selection of the most suitable phenotypes from the standing genetic variation or by phenotypic plasticity, the ability of single genotypes to produce different phenotypes in different environments. Because of near genetic identity, asexually reproducing populations are particularly suitable for the investigation of the potential and molecular underpinning of the latter alternative in depth. Recent analyses on the whole-genome scale of differently adapted clonal animals and plants demonstrated that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs are among the molecular pathways supporting phenotypic plasticity and that epigenetic variation is used to stably adapt to different environments. Case studies revealed habitat-specific epigenetic fingerprints that were maintained over subsequent years pointing at the existence of epigenetic ecotypes. Environmentally induced epimutations and corresponding gene expression changes provide an ideal means for fast and directional adaptation to changing or new conditions, because they can synchronously alter phenotypes in many population members. Because microorganisms inclusive of human pathogens also exploit epigenetically mediated phenotypic variation for environmental adaptation, this phenomenon is considered a universal biological principle. The production of different phenotypes from the same DNA sequence in response to environmental cues by epigenetic mechanisms also provides a mechanistic explanation for the “general-purpose genotype hypothesis” and the “genetic paradox of invasions”.

Keywords: asexual populations • epigenetic ecotypes • ecoepigenetics • DNA methylation • environmental adaptation • general-purpose genotype • invasion paradox • phenotypic plasticity

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31 December 2022

2022 was a slow year for Marmorkrebs research

 This is usually a more optimistic exercise for me.

Graph of publications about Marmorkrebs from 2003 to 2022, with peak in 2018.

After years of being able to write that “This was the best year ever,” the last five years show a downward trend in the number of research publications on Marmorkrebs. This graph shows only journal articles, and excludes one interesting article in Crayfish News. Still, even if I included that, this is the least active year in 6 or 7 years.

This may be because some of the original research questions about Marmorkrebs – their origin and basic biology – are now resolved. It may also be that because this species is more widespread, new records of introductions are less likely to be reported or published.

The biggest story this year was the expanding use of local legislation to ban or regulate the sale of Marmorkrebs in the pet trade. Someone was actually charged under a law for selling Marmorkrebs for the first time. Ontario and Georgia banned Marmorkrebs, and Minnesota is thinking about it.The Ontario ban is quite significant, given the size and population of the province.


Previous year end reviews

2008 was the best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2009 was tied for the best year ever in Marmorkrebs research

2010 was the best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2011 was not the best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2012 was an average year for Marmorkrebs research

2013 was the second best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2014 was a good year for Marmorkrebs research

2015 was the best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2016 was the best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2017 was the second best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2018 was the second best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2019 was the second best year ever for Marmorkrebs research

2020 was not the best year for Marmorkrebs research

2021 was the third best year ever for Marmorkrebs research


28 November 2022

Georgia bans Marmorkrebs

Map of USA showing location of state of Georgia
The One Green Planet site is reporting that the southern US state of Georgia has announced plans to ban Marmorkrebs.


The ban would take effect 4 December 2022. A perusal of a public announcement from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (PDF) seems to show that keeping almost any other crayfish species – except Louisiana red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and White river crayfish (Procambarus zonangulus) – would require a permit.


The state and provincial regulations seem to be picking up steam. But I continue to worry about whether these bans are taking into account that there might be researchers who might want to study these animals for scientific purposes.

External links

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Subject 391-4-8 Wild Animals (PDF)

Georgia finally expands restrictions on wild animals as pets

Map by TUBS - This SVG locator map includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this locator map:, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15948353

04 November 2022

Minnesota eyes Marmorkrebs ban

 Read the story here.