30 November 2010

Chucholl and Pfeiffer, 2010

Aquatic Invasions logoChucholl C, Pfeiffer M. 2010. First evidence for an established Marmorkrebs (Decapoda, Astacida, Cambaridae) population in Southwestern Germany, in syntopic occurrence with Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817). Aquatic Invasions 5(4): 405-412.


Marmorkrebs are one of 12 currently known non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS) to be found in Central European waters. It is unique in the manner that there exist only females which reproduce parthenogenetically, i.e. eggs develop unfertilized and all offspring are genetically identical. Marmorkrebs have been first discovered in the German aquarium trade in the mid 1990s and became a very common pet species since then. Here, we present first evidence for a well established Marmorkrebs population in a small lake in the Upper Rhine catchment near Freiburg (Germany). The population occurs syntopically with Orconectes limosus, another NICS which invaded the Rhine system about 50 years ago. Morphometric and ovary weight measurements were taken from 12 Marmorkrebs specimens that were captured on July 3, 2010. The rostrum spination was pronounced and resembled the one found on a free-living individual captured in Saxony (Germany). Ovary development stages (Gonadosomatic Index) were heterogeneous and single berried females were found from early June to late July, which might indicate an asynchronous breeding habit. The relative abundance and distribution of both crayfish species were assessed by visual counts at nighttime at two occasions. Both species attained a comparable, moderate density throughout the lake margin. The Marmorkrebs was the prevalent species on shallow, swampy habitat patches, which are presumably similar to its natural prime habitats. The successful establishment of Marmorkrebs despite a pre-existing O. limosus population, stresses the competitive ability of Marmorkrebs. In addition to the recently suggested hypothesis that Marmorkrebs might be temperature limited in most parts of Europe, we feel that it is also necessary to consider its probable natural prime habitats and life cycle: Marmorkrebs are presumably able to colonize summer-warm, lentic habitats in most parts of Central Europe.

Keywords: Marmorkrebs • marbled crayfish • non-indigenous species • invasion success • parthenogenesis • Procambarus fallax

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