17 April 2023

CrayIT 2023 meeting

CrayfIT meeting logo
CrayfIT is a regional Europoean crayfish meeting that will be held this September.

The meeting will be held at the University of Pavia.

Besides the usual talks and posters, there will be a field trip to the North-Western Apennines to see visit lowland sites for Procambarus clarkii and hilly sites for Austropotamobius pallipes.

Early bird registration deadline is 2 May.

External links

CrayfIT meeting site

09 April 2023

Aigner 2022

University of Salzburg logo
Aigner K. 2022. Ecology of marbled crayfish and possible management measures at fishing ponds in Salzburg. Master’s thesis, Department of Environment and Biodiversity, University of Salzburg. https://resolver.obvsg.at/urn:nbn:at:at-ubs:1-36654


Exotic crayfish species are threatening native freshwater ecosystems as well as native crayfish species by affecting all trophic levels of a system, competition and being a vector of the crayfish plague pathogen. The highly invasive marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is very successful in establishing populations in the wild, due to its parthenogenetic form of reproduction. Three established populations were found at fishing ponds in Salzburg and investigated over a period of ten weeks to shed light on habitat requirements or preferences of this species as well as evaluating and comparing methods for detection and catch. Water temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration, as well as time of the year and macrophyte cover were the main factors affecting the density of active marbled crayfish in this study. Additionally, the obtained data from observations suggests a preference of marbled crayfish for structure-rich habitats providing shelters as well as food sources. Traditional crayfish traps were the most size-selective catching method, followed by fine-meshed fish traps. Hand-catch with landing nets showed no size-selectivity. In almost all samples the eDNA analyses indicated no presence of marbled crayfish, despite numerous observations at night. The false negative results of this method were likely due to insufficient filtering volumes and a low number of sub-samples. qPCR analyses of twenty individuals showed no sign of infection with the crayfish plague pathogen (Aphanomyces astaci), hinting that the population might not have encountered this pathogen yet. The results of this study provide a first insight into the ideal habitats for marbled crayfish. However, this species is known for its high ecological plasticity, which is why further investigations are strongly recommended. Additionally, management measures to supress (sic) population growth in order to avoid a spread to other freshwater systems in close proximity should be continuously undertaken as well as monitoring regarding the infection status with the crayfish plague pathogen.


Keywords: Marbled crayfish • Procambarus virginalis • Austria • habitat preferences • population characteristics • management measures • eDNA • crayfish plague • invasive species

10 March 2023

Kor and colleagues 2023

Logo for PeerJ - Life and Environment
Kor G, Mengal K, Buřič M, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2023. Comparative ultrastructure of the antennae and sensory hairs in six species of crayfish. PeerJ 11: e15006. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.15006 





Antennae in crayfish are essential for gaining information about the local topography and localising food, chemicals, conspecifics or predator. There are still gaps in the research on the morphology of antennae in decapods compared to other arthropods.



Biometrical and ultrastructural methods were applied using light and cryo-scanning electron microscopies to study the morphology of antennae in six different crayfish species, including marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, Mexican dwarf crayfish Cambarellus patzcuarensis, red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, common yabby Cherax destructor, and spiny-cheek crayfish Faxonius limosus to find their potential morphological differences.



Significant differences in the antenna length, length and width of each segment to carapace length ratios, and the number of segments were found in the six crayfish species. The ultrastructure revealed differences in the distribution of sensory hairs on the antenna and the morphology of the antennal surface.



The different morphology of antennae might reflect adaptation to the conditions of their specific habitats. In addition, results showed that a combination of differences in the morphological features and biometrical measurements of antennae could be used for the distinguishment of different studied crayfish species.


Keywords: antenna • arthropods • biometry • electron microscopy • morphology • crustaceans

Open access

19 February 2023

Mengal and colleagues, 2023

Cover to Developmental and Comparative Immunology

Mengal K, Kor G, Kouba A, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2023. Hemocyte coagulation and phagocytic behavior in early stages of injury in crayfish (Arthropoda: Decapoda) affect their morphology. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 141: 104618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2022.104618


Crustacean hemocytes are important mediators of immune functions such as coagulation and phagocytosis. We employed an in situ approach to investigate the ultrastructural behavior of hemocytes during coagulation and phagocytosis in the early stages after injury caused by leg amputation, using transmission electron microscopy technique in marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis. Hemocytes underwent drastic morphological changes during coagulation. The morphology of the cytoplasmic granules changed from electron-dense to electron-lucent forms in an expanding manner. The transformed granules containing amorphous electron-lucent material were observed to merge and discharge their contents into extracellular space for coagulation. We also observed that the contents of the nucleus participate in the process of coagulation. In addition, leg amputation induced extensive muscle degeneration and necrotic tissues were avidly taken up by the phagocytic hemocytes containing distinct phagosomes. Interestingly, we observed for the first time how the digested contents of phagocytized necrotic tissues are incorporated into granules and other cellular components that change the cell morphology by increasing the granularity of the hemocytes. Nevertheless, the degranulation of hemocytes during coagulation can also reduce their granularity. Given that morphological traits are important criteria for hemocyte classification, these morphological changes that occur during coagulation and phagocytosis must be taken into account.

Keywords: degranulation • hemolymph coagulation • muscle degeneration • phagocytosis

07 January 2023

Marbled crayfish on TikTok

TikTok logo

I’m not a big TikTok user, but a research search came up with a decently long list of Marmorkrebs videos on TikTok.

01 January 2023

Vogt 2023

Logo for journal Epigenomes.

Vogt G. 2023. Environmental adaptation of genetically uniform organisms with the help of epigenetic mechanisms—An insightful perspective on ecoepigenetics. Epigenomes 7(1): 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes7010001


Organisms adapt to different environments by selection of the most suitable phenotypes from the standing genetic variation or by phenotypic plasticity, the ability of single genotypes to produce different phenotypes in different environments. Because of near genetic identity, asexually reproducing populations are particularly suitable for the investigation of the potential and molecular underpinning of the latter alternative in depth. Recent analyses on the whole-genome scale of differently adapted clonal animals and plants demonstrated that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs are among the molecular pathways supporting phenotypic plasticity and that epigenetic variation is used to stably adapt to different environments. Case studies revealed habitat-specific epigenetic fingerprints that were maintained over subsequent years pointing at the existence of epigenetic ecotypes. Environmentally induced epimutations and corresponding gene expression changes provide an ideal means for fast and directional adaptation to changing or new conditions, because they can synchronously alter phenotypes in many population members. Because microorganisms inclusive of human pathogens also exploit epigenetically mediated phenotypic variation for environmental adaptation, this phenomenon is considered a universal biological principle. The production of different phenotypes from the same DNA sequence in response to environmental cues by epigenetic mechanisms also provides a mechanistic explanation for the “general-purpose genotype hypothesis” and the “genetic paradox of invasions”.

Keywords: asexual populations • epigenetic ecotypes • ecoepigenetics • DNA methylation • environmental adaptation • general-purpose genotype • invasion paradox • phenotypic plasticity

Open access logo