02 February 2010

Ireland’s crayfish concerns

Ireland is worried about its crayfish, according to this nice pamphlet. And with good reason. It's the only place in Europe that doesn’t have any known populations of non-native crayfish species.


The brochure is mainly about crayfish plague, which has hit the native Irish crayfish populations occasionally. (The Irish, after all, have some experience with fungal pathogens.) It says this of Marmorkrebs:

Perhaps the most dangerous is the ‘Marmokrebs’ or Marbled Crayfish, an Orconectes clone which is parthenogenetic, i.e. it can reproduce without mating, and produces large numbers of offspring. These have already been dumped into the wild in two European countries, and a bucket of them was recently intercepted in UK.

I have no idea where the idea that Marmorkrebs are related to Orconectes came from. Absolutely every scientific paper has placed them in the genus Procambarus. (I emailed them about it, so they know for the brochure reprint, though. Please don’t hassle them any more.)

Nevertheless, this is a very useful, well designed brochure from Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife office.

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