27 March 2019

Lidova and colleagues, 2019

Lidova J, Buric M, Kouba A, Velisek J. 2019. Acute toxicity of two pyrethroid insecticides for five non-indigenous crayfish species in Europe. Veterinarni Medicina 64(03): 125–133. https://doi.org/10.17221/136/2018-VETMED


Pyrethroid insecticides are highly toxic to many aquatic organisms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of the commercial products Cyperkill 25 EC (active compound 250 g/l cypermethrin) and Decis Mega (active compound 50 g/l deltamethrin) for European non-indigenous marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus and yabby Cherax destructor. These data will provide a baseline for potential programmes to eradicate alien crayfish from Europe (EU Regulation No. 1143/2014; Commission Implementing Regulation No. 2016/1141) and are also relevant globally. The 96hLC50 values of Cyperkill 25 EC were 0.09, 0.17, 0.18, 0.19 and 0.30 µg/l for spiny-cheek crayfish, red swamp crayfish, marbled crayfish, signal crayfish and yabby, respectively. In the same order, the 96hLC50 values of Decis Mega were 0.76, 0.16, 0.21, 0.03 and 0.27 µg/l. The toxicity of the insecticides was similar and species-specific, possibly reflecting the size difference of the tested animals. This study shows that cypermethrin and deltamethrin are highly toxic to the tested crayfish species at low concentrations. This high sensitivity, along with the low accumulation in the food chain and short-term persistence in the aquatic environment, suggests that they are suitable biocides for eradicating crayfish in the wild. Stagnant, closed water bodies with newly emerging invaders are ideal sites for possible application, although local conditions must be considered.

Keywords: biological invasion • insecticide • cypermethrin • deltamethrin • eradication • invasive species

20 March 2019

Takahashi and colleagues, 2019

Takahashi K, Yamaguchi E, Fujiyama N, Nagayama T. 2019. The effects of quality of shelters and prior residence on marmorkrebs (marbled crayfish). Journal of Experimental Biology 222(6):. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.197301


Many animals fight over a limited valuable resource. In marmorkrebs (marbled crayfish), large animals usually defeated small opponents but they were frequently beaten by small opponents who were shelter owners. A prior residence effect of marbled crayfish was analyzed quantitatively. More than 2 hr of residency in a shelter was sufficient for small owners to defeat large intruders. Small animals that stayed in a shelter for 24 hr still tended to win following removal of the shelter 10 min before pairing with large intruders, but 2 hr residents were occasionally beaten by large intruders without the support of shelters during pairings. The prior residence effect thus developed depending on the time of residency. To clarify whether the strength of the prior residence effect was affected by the quality of a shelter, large and small owners with different combinations of two high and low quality of shelters were paired. When both large and small owners possessed a high quality shelter, the frequency of agonistic bouts was reduced. Even if agonistic bouts occurred, the win frequency of small owners was almost equal to that of large owners. Thus, the residence effect on small owners was sufficiently strong to overcome the physical disadvantage of small animals to large opponents. By contrast, small owners of low quality shelters were frequently beaten by large owners with the shelters of same or better quality. We conclude that the outcomes of fighting over the resource shelter are highly dependent on both the perception of shelter quality and body size differences.

Keywords: agonistic encounter • owner: intruder • perception • winner effect • residence effect

18 March 2019

International Crayfish Conference 2019

The International Conference on Crayfish will be in Europe this year, organized by Blue Centre Gotland, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. and University of Eastern Finland. This conference is open to both researchers and crayfish farmers.

For more information, contact Gunilla Rosenqvist (gunilla.rosenqvist@geo.uu.se) or Lennart Edsman (Lennart.edsman@slu.se).

External links

Internationell kräftkonferens 27 - 30 augusti 2019

07 March 2019

Bradshaw, 2019

Bradshaw L. 2019. The genetic authentication of Malagasy crayfish samples. South Carolina Junior Academy of Science. 270. https://scholarexchange.furman.edu/scjas/2019/all/270


The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a relatively new species that emerged by macromutation nearly 30 years ago from Procambrus fallax. Despite its short existence, it has already become an invasive species because of its ability to reproduce clonally and its environmental adaptability. The marbled crayfishes’ high adaptability allows it to thrive in diverse conditions throughout the globe. It is very important to correctly identify marbled crayfish because, to do epigenetic research with them, we need to know the epigenetic profile. This experiment analyzed two Malagasy crayfish samples to test if they were Procambarus virginalis. This work was necessary because it is the only way to distinguish between different crayfish species besides morphology which is subjective. DNA was isolated from the abdominal tissue of 2 unknown crayfish samples, analyzed by PCR, and compared to known DNA reference sequences. The results for crayfish #1 were inconclusive because the insert was not incorporated by the plasmid, but it was confirmed that crayfish #2 was Procambarus virginalis. Future work on the marbled crayfish will be to help establish a methylome sequence. This methylome sequence will show average methylations to the DNA, helping further understand the epigenetics of clonal tumor evolution.

Keywords: None provided.

Banned in Japan?

The Japanese newpaper The Mainichi is reporting that Marmorkrebs could soon be added to Japan’s list of “Invasive Alien Species.”

The article notes that there have been a couple of isolated cases of Marmorkrebs found in the wild in Japan (as noted on the map of introductions). The article provides the first confirmation I know of – unsurprising though it is – that Marmorkrebs are readily available in the pet trade there.

Looking at the Ministry’s page on invasive species, crayfish are already regulated to some degree. The PDF of regulated species say all crayfish (“Any species of the families Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae”) are “Required to have a Certificate Attached during their importation in order to verify their types.” But this does nothing once a species is in the national pet trade and being distributed within Japanese borders.

Marmorkrebs would join all the species of Astacus and Cherax, the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), and the rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus, still listed as Orconectes in the Japanese documents) as an invasive.

External links

Environment ministry plans to add marbled crayfish to list of invasive species

05 March 2019

Stara and colleagues, 2019

Stara A, Kubec J, Zuskova E, Buric M, Faggio C, Kouba A, Velisek J. 2019. Effects of S-metolachlor and its degradation product metolachlor OA on marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis). Chemosphere 224: 616-625. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.02.187


Increasing production of energy crops in Europe, mainly maize and rapeseed, has altered patterns of pesticide use in recent decades. The long-term effects of S-metolachlor (S-M) and of its metabolite metolachlor OA (M-OA) at the environmentally relevant concentration of 4.2 μg  L−1 and at 42 μg  L−1 (ten-fold concentration) on marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) were evaluated in a 28-day exposure and after a subsequent 28-day recovery period. Indicators assessed were behaviour; biochemical haemolymph profile; oxidative and antioxidant parameters of gill, hepatopancreas, and muscle; and histology of hepatopancreas and gill. Results showed biochemical haemolymph profile (lactate, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, inorganic phosphate), lipid peroxidation in hepatopancreas, and antioxidant parameters (catalase, reduced glutathione, glutathione S-transferase) of hepatopancreas and gill of crayfish exposed to S-M and M-OA to significantly differ from controls (P < 0.01). Antioxidant biomarker levels remained different from controls after a 28-day recovery period. Differences in behaviour including speed of movement and velocity, and histopathological damage to gill and hepatopancreas were associated with S-M and M-OA exposure and persisted after 28 days in S-M- and M-OA-free water. Results suggest harmful effects of low concentrations of S-M and its metabolite M-OA on non-target organisms and provide information for assessing their effects at environmentally relevant concentrations.

Keywords: herbicide • metabolite • crustacean • biomarkers • histology • recovery

19 February 2019

Velisek and colleagues, 2019

Velisek J, Stara A, Zuskova E, Kubec J, Buric M, Kouba A. 2019. Effects of s-metolachlor on early life stages of marbled crayfish. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 153: 87-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2018.11.007


The effects of s-metolachlor chronic exposure at concentrations of 1.1 μg/L (maximal real environmental concentration in the Czech Republic), 11 μg/L (environmental relevant concentration) and 110 μg/L on early life stages of marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) was evaluated under laboratory conditions. All s-metolachlor exposures resulted in higher mortality, delay ontogenetic development with accompanied slower growth and excited behaviour (increase of total distance moved and walking speed). Significantly lower superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione S-transferase activity and reduced glutathione level was observed at two higher tested concentrations (11 and 110 μg/L) of s-metolachlor compared with the control. S-metolachlor in concentrations 110 μg/L showed alteration of the tubular system of hepatopancreas including focal disintegration of tubular epithelium and notable reduction in epithelial cells number, especially B-cells. In conclusion, potential risk associated with using of s-metolachlor in agriculture, due to effects on non-target aquatic organisms as documented on early life stages of marbled crayfish in this study, should be taken into account.

Keywords: herbicide • Procambarus virginalis • ontogenetic development • behaviour • antioxidant enzymes • toxicity test

Hossain and colleagues, 2019

Hossain MS, Kubec J, Kouba A, Kozák P, Buřič M. 2019. Still waters run deep: marbled crayfish dominates over red swamp crayfish in agonistic interactions. Aquatic Ecology 53(1): 97-107. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-019-09675-7


Intra- and interspecific interactions contribute to the successful establishment and consequent spreading of species in the environment, which became particularly apparent in the context of ongoing biological invasions. The parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis, Lyko 2017 is recently recognized as an emerging invader due to its high adaptability, fast growth, early maturation, and high fecundity. The present study explored the interaction patterns of size-matched (including 15 body parts morphometry evaluation) pairs of marbled crayfish and red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, a well-known highly aggressive and widely distributed invader of freshwater ecosystems. Despite this, marbled crayfish won significantly more fights and establish dominancy in more cases in both premature and mature experimental trials. Premature red swamp crayfish pairs were more active in contact and fight initiation than mature. In mature, the dominance over female red swamp crayfish was 100%, in males it reached 60%. Premature marbled crayfish dominated in more than 75% pairs. Agonistic behaviour and intensity of fights significantly dropped after establishment of dominance in particular (size and sex) pairs. Therefore, we confirmed that sex and age (size) have effects on agonistic behaviour in crayfish as well as the dominance of marbled crayfish within similarly sized specimens. Despite described behavioural patterns, we can expect that the situation in the potential sympatric occurrence of both species will not be as clear as found in experimental conditions due to greater maximal size of red swamp crayfish.

Keywords: competition • dominance • interaction • Procambarus virginalisProcambarus clarkii

16 February 2019

Nothing like a Dane: the European invasion continues

Another European country has become home to Marmorkrebs. The Copenhagen Post Online is reporting a single Marmorkrebs was found on the main body of Denmark, Jutland, near the town of Skive.

It’s been a few months since I updated the map of Marmorkrebs introductions, so I supposed this was due. It feels like Marmorkrebs in every European nation is as inevitable as no deal Brexit at this point. Maybe Lichtenstein can hold out.

External links

Self-fertilising invasive crayfish discovered in Denmark

09 February 2019

Andriantsoa and colleagues, 2019

Andriantsoa R, Töngesm S, Panteleit J, Theissinger K, Carneiro VC, Rasamy J, Lyko F. 2019. Ecological plasticity and commercial impact of invasive marbled crayfish populations in Madagascar. BMC Ecology 19: 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12898-019-0224-1



The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a monoclonal, parthenogenetically reproducing freshwater crayfish species that has formed multiple stable populations worldwide. Madagascar hosts a particularly large and rapidly expanding colony of marbled crayfish in a unique environment characterized by a very high degree of ecological diversity.


Here we provide a detailed characterization of five marbled crayfish populations in Madagascar and their habitats. Our data show that the animals can tolerate a wide range of ecological parameters, consistent with their invasive potential. While we detected marbled crayfish in sympatry with endemic crayfish species, we found no evidence for the transmission of the crayfish plague pathogen, a potentially devastating oomycete. Furthermore, our results also suggest that marbled crayfish are active predators of the freshwater snails that function as intermediate hosts for human schistosomiasis. Finally, we document fishing, farming and market sales of marbled crayfish in Madagascar.


Our results provide a paradigm for the complex network of factors that promotes the invasive spread of marbled crayfish. The commercial value of the animals is likely to result in further anthropogenic distribution.

Keywords: marbled crayfish • Madagascar • ecology • habitat diversity • crayfish plague • farming

02 February 2019

Kubec and colleagues, 2019

Kubec J, Hossain MS, Grabicová K, Randák T, Kouba A, Grabic R, Roje S, Buřič M. 2019. Oxazepam alters the behavior of crayfish at diluted concentrations, venlafaxine does not. Water 11: 196. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020196


Pharmaceutically active compounds are only partially removed from wastewaters and hence may be major contaminants of freshwaters. Direct and indirect effects on aquatic organisms are reported at dilute concentrations. This study was focused on the possible effects of environmentally relevant concentrations (~1 µg L−1) of two psychoactive compounds on the behavior of freshwater crayfish. Experimental animals exposed to venlafaxine did not show any behavioral alteration. Crayfish exposed to the benzodiazepine oxazepam exhibited a significant alteration in the distance moved and activity, and the effects were different when individuals were ready for reproduction. Results suggested that even the low concentration of selected psychoactive pharmaceuticals could alter the behavioral patterns of crayfish, as reported for other pharmaceuticals. These results provide new information about the possible adverse effects of pharmaceuticals at dilute concentrations. From previous knowledge and our results, it is obvious that different compounds have different effects and the effects are even specific for different taxa. Detailed studies are therefore needed to assess the possible ecological consequences of particular substances, as well as for their mixtures.

Keywords: environmental pollution • pharmaceuticals • freshwaters • crayfish

14 January 2019

Shinji and colleagues, 2019

Shinji J, Gotoh H, Miyanishi H, Lavine MD, Lavine LC. 2019. The activin signaling transcription factor Smox is an essential regulator of appendage size during regeneration after autotomy in the crayfish. Evolution & Development 21(1): 44-55. https://doi.org/10.1111/ede.12277


Members of the phylum Arthropoda, comprising over 80% of total animal species, have evolved regenerative abilities, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms mediating this process. Transforming growth factor β (TGF‐β) signaling mediates a diverse set of essential processes in animals and is a good candidate pathway for regulation of regeneration in arthropods. In this study we investigated the role of activin signaling, a TGF‐β superfamily pathway, in limb regeneration in the crayfish. We identified and cloned a downstream transcription factor in the activin pathway, Smox, and characterized its function with regard to other elements of the activin signaling pathway. Gene knockdown of Smox by RNAi induced regeneration of complete but smaller pereopods after autotomy. This indicates that activin signaling via Smox functions in regulation of pereopod growth and size. The expression levels of both Smox and the activin receptor babo were closely correlated with molting. The expression level of Smox increased when babo was knocked down by RNAi, indicating that Smox and babo transcription are linked. Our study suggests that the Babo‐Smox system in activin signaling is conserved in decapods, and supports an evolutionary conservation of this aspect of molecular signaling during regeneration between protostomes and deuterostomes.

Keywords: None provided.