24 February 2022

Sentis and colleagues 2022

Cover of journal Ecology and Evolution

Sentis A, Veselý L, Let M, Musil M, Malinovska V, Kouba A. 2022. Short-term thermal acclimation modulates predator functional response. Ecology and Evolution 12(2): e8631. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8631




Phenotypic plastic responses to temperature can modulate the kinetic effects of temperature on biological rates and traits and thus play an important role for species adaptation to climate change. However, there is little information on how these plastic responses to temperature can influence trophic interactions. Here, we conducted an experiment using marbled crayfish and their water louse prey to investigate how short-term thermal acclimation at two temperatures (16 and 24°C) modulates the predator functional response. We found that both functional response parameters (search rate and handling time) differed between the two experimental temperatures. However, the sign and magnitudes of these differences strongly depended on acclimation time. Acclimation to 16°C increased handling time and search rate whereas acclimation to 24°C leads to the opposite effects with shorter handling time and lower search rate for acclimated predators. Moreover, the strength of these effects increased with acclimation time so that the differences in search rate and handing time between the two temperatures were reversed between the treatment without acclimation and after 24 h of acclimation. Overall, we found that the magnitude of the acclimation effects can be as strong as the direct kinetic effects of temperature. Our study highlights the importance of taking into account short-term thermal plasticity to improve our understanding of the potential consequences of global warming on species interactions.

Keywords: None provided.


Open access

11 February 2022

Kaliszewicz and colleagues, 2022

The European Zoological Journal cover

Kaliszewicz A, Karaban K, Sierakowski M, Maciaszek R, Kur M, Pyffel Z, Wolny L, Chmiel K, Łuciuk P, Rusin P, Kowalczyk K. 2022. Effect of dietary supplementation with fatty acids on growth, survival, and fatty acid patterns in Procambarus clarkii and Procambarus virginalis: the first comparison of two invasive crayfish species. The European Zoological Journal 89(1): 123-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/24750263.2022.2030420




The red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, and the marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis, are invasive species expanding their ranges on a global scale. Their spread is favored by the fact that these crayfish are also aquaculture species of great economic importance (P. clarkii) or promising prospects in this regard (P. virginalis). This study represents the first attempt to assess the impact of diet supplementation with fatty acids on growth, survival, and fatty acid content in these crayfish species, as well as the first record of fatty acid patterns in the obligate parthenogenetic marbled crayfish. Our results showed that supplementation with saturated palmitic acid increased P. clarkii survival, which has not previously been reported for crustaceans. This positive effect on the part of palmitic acid supplementation was not observed for P. virginalis individuals. Marbled crayfish had significantly higher survival rates than red swamp crayfish regardless of the diet used. The growth of both species was not affected by fatty acid supplementation. Our study indicated that young marbled crayfish had a poorer fatty acid profile than juvenile conspecifics and red swamp crayfish. Fatty acid supplementation and type of diet significantly affected the fatty acid composition in the crayfish tissues. There was an increase in unsaturated α-linolenic acid for P. clarkii and palmitic acid for P. virginalis. Palmitic acid quantitatively dominated in both species regardless of the experimental treatment, with the exception of juvenile P. virginalis, which was fed an oligochaete diet rich in EPA. 


Keywords: red swamp crayfish • marbled crayfish • diet supplementation • saturated fatty acids

05 February 2022

Vogt 2022

The Science of Nature cover

Vogt G. 2022. Studying phenotypic variation and DNA methylation across development, ecology and evolution in the clonal marbled crayfish: a paradigm for investigating epigenotype-phenotype relationships in macro-invertebrates. The Science of Nature 109(1): 16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01782-6


Animals can produce different phenotypes from the same genome during development, environmental adaptation and evolution, which is mediated by epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation. The obligatory parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis, whose genome and methylome are fully established, proved very suitable to study this issue in detail. Comparison between developmental stages and DNA methylation revealed low expression of Dnmt methylation and Tet demethylation enzymes from the spawned oocyte to the 256 cell embryo and considerably increased expression thereafter. The global 5-methylcytosine level was 2.78% at mid-embryonic development and decreased slightly to 2.41% in 2-year-old adults. Genetically identical clutch-mates raised in the same uniform laboratory setting showed broad variation in morphological, behavioural and life history traits and differences in DNA methylation. The invasion of diverse habitats in tropical to cold-temperate biomes in the last 20 years by the marbled crayfish was associated with the expression of significantly different phenotypic traits and DNA methylation patterns, despite extremely low genetic variation on the whole genome scale, suggesting the establishment of epigenetic ecotypes. The evolution of marbled crayfish from its parent species Procambarus fallax by autotriploidy a few decades ago was accompanied by a significant increase in body size, fertility and life span, a 20% reduction of global DNA methylation and alteration of methylation in hundreds of genes, suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms were involved in speciation and fitness enhancement. The combined analysis of phenotypic traits and DNA methylation across multiple biological contexts in the laboratory and field in marbled crayfish may serve as a blueprint for uncovering the role of epigenetic mechanisms in shaping of phenotypes in macro-invertebrates.


Keywords: phenotype • development • DNA methylation • ecology • evolution • marbled crayfish