21 December 2010

Jimenez and Faulkes, 2011

Jimenez SA, Faulkes Z. 2011. Can the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Marmorkrebs compete with other crayfish species in fights? Journal of Ethology 29(1): 115-120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10164-010-0232-2


The parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Marmorkrebs, has no known wild population, but has been introduced into natural ecosystems in two continents. Interactions with native crayfish, particularly through fighting, could affect the ecological impact of Marmorkrebs introductions. Marmorkrebs have been characterized anecdotally as having low levels of aggression, which could mitigate their potential to compete with native species. We isolated Marmorkrebs and Louisiana red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), then conducted size-matched intra- and interspecific pairings. Marmorkrebs were as likely to win a fight as P. clarkii, although contests between P. clarkii and Marmorkrebs were significantly faster to begin than contests between two Marmorkrebs. These results suggests that Marmorkrebs have the potential to compete with other species on the same level as P. clarkii, which is itself a highly successful introduced species around the world.

Keywords: aggression • crayfish • competition • invasive species • marbled crayfish • Marmorkrebs • Louisiana red swamp crayfish • Procambarus clarkii


Wolf said...

An interesting paper.

Pointing out the part starting with:

"Clearly, a fight in a bare tank between socially isolated
juvenile animals is a much simpler situation than competition
in a natural habitat."

I can generally imagine a setup similiar to a natural habitat where the clarkii got used to live for quite a while before adding the invaders.

But what size should each tank have? And parallely for adults, too. What is the natural area for adults of these kinds?
Probably they could show peaceful coexistence especially if enough covers and space are provided (what you mentioned as "habitat

With a little humor the setup of these little tanks you used sounds somehow like a fight pit for cockroaches or Spiders on the school playground or in Jail.
Did you bet on the results during the fights? ;-)

Zen said...

Both Stef and I had our hunches as to the outcome, but no money exchanged hands.