19 November 2014

Patoka and colleagues, 2014

Patoka J, Kalous L, Kopecký O. 2014. Risk assessment of the crayfish pet trade based on data from the Czech Republic. Biological Invasions 16(12): 2489-2494. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0682-5


The pet trade in freshwater crustaceans, including crayfish, has grown rapidly in recent decades and become an important pathway for introducing new non-indigenous species into Europe. This paper provides the first overview of non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS) traded as ornamental and their potential impact in the Czech Republic, which is the second leading importer into Europe. The paper presents a full list of traded crayfish species, their market availability, and trade names or misnomers used in the country. In total, 27 crayfish species from all three families are advertised and marketed, of which Astacus astacus is the only indigenous species. Only three NICS were recognized as very common on the market. The invasiveness and risk associated with ornamental crayfish trade were assessed using the Freshwater Invertebrate Invasiveness Scoring Kit. Five NICS were classified into the high-risk category, the highest score being for Procambarus fallax f. virginalis. The invasiveness of crayfish indigenous to North America is significantly greater than that of crayfish from the rest of the world, and therefore regulation in this regard is recommended.

Keywords: Ornamental animal • Invasiveness • FI-ISK • Aquarium • Trade names

Chucholl, 2014

Chucholl C. 2014. Predicting the risk of introduction and establishment of an exotic aquarium animal in Europe: insights from one decade of Marmorkrebs (Crustacea, Astacida, Cambaridae) releases. Management of Biological Invasions 5(4): 309-318. http://dx.doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2014.5.4.01


The presence of the North American Marmorkrebs (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) in European inland waters is entirely driven by ongoing propagule pressure from the ornamental trade. Since 2003 at least 25 independent introduction events have been confirmed, of which some have eventually resulted in established populations. This study links a maximum-entropy model that forecasts the probability of Marmorkrebs introduction based on socio-economic predictors to an updated species distribution model based on environmental predictors in order to explore the risk of further Marmorkrebs establishment in Europe. In line with related research, the probability of Marmorkrebs release was largely affected by gross domestic product and human population density, i.e. predictors very likely related to the density of Marmorkrebs owners, whereas environmental suitability was mostly influenced by minimum temperature and the availability of lentic habitats, which was indirectly assessed by terrain slope. While considerable parts of Europe were predicted as potentially suitable for establishment, high probabilities of introduction were forecasted in much smaller geographic areas. The consensus map of the model predictions suggests that introduction and subsequent establishment of Marmorkrebs is likely to occur in much of Germany, the Benelux countries, England, Italy, and areas of high human population density throughout France and Spain, as well as parts of southernmost Scandinavia and Southeastern Europe. Monitoring trades of Marmorkrebs in these high-risk regions is recommended and implications for proactive measures are discussed, including the need for consistent trade regulations at the EU level.

Keywords: marbled crayfish • propagule pressure • risk assessment • ornamental trade • introduction pathway

Celebrate diversity: Winning evolution without sex

Quanta magazine has a nice feature article on rotifers, which are apparently some of the longest running asexual lineages that we know about. Or maybe they’re not asexual... maybe it’s sex, Jim, but not as we know it:

The new work has shown bdelloids to be so good at generating genetic diversity that some researchers now question the very definition of sex, with some arguing for a more expansive one that doesn’t require the orchestrated swapping of genetic material. Others think that even if the traditional definition of sex remains intact, the unique genetic strategies of the bdelloid rotifer will illuminate the mechanisms that make sex such a successful evolutionary strategy.

11 November 2014

Vojkovská and colleagues, 2014

Vojkovská R, Horká I, Tricarico E, Duriš Z. 2014. New record of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax f. virginalis from Italy. Crustaceana 87(11-12): 1386-1392. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15685403-00003365


To date, the ‘marbled crayfish’, Procambarus fallax (Hagen, 1870) f. virginalis, in Italy has been reported only from Tuscany (central Italy). Recently, specimens of this alien American crayfish were found in the Po di Maistra Channel, Porto Tolle, south of Venice (northern Italy). The identification of this species was confirmed by its external morphology and colour pattern, as well as by molecular analysis. The present report provides the second record for the marbled crayfish in Italy.

Keywords: None provided.