Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The first record of the parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs (Decapoda, Astacida, Cambaridae) in the wild in Saxony (Germany) raises the question of its actual threat to European freshwater ecosystems.

Abstract

A cambarid specimen was collected in a brook in Saxony (south-east Germany). Preliminary morphological inspection identified it as the parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs (Decapoda, Astacida, Cambaridae). However, this individual showed some striking morphological differences compared to specimens of our laboratory Marmorkrebs culture. Hence, we conducted a molecular analysis based on two mitochondrial genes, COI and 12S, to check its identity. The results of the genetic study verified the initial assumption of a Marmorkrebs identity for the Saxon specimen. Thus, in addition to the two indigenous species, the new find is the fourth recorded introduced crayfish species in this area. However, a search for further Marmorkrebs specimens at the same site was not successful. Most published records of Marmorkrebs in European waters concern just single individuals and an established population has so far not been observed. This stands in contrast to other recently introduced cambarid species. Thus, we critically discuss the potential of the Marmorkrebs to spread within Europe. The major obstacle may be that the temperature necessary for optimal development and reproduction of the Marmorkrebs is significantly higher than that found in most European waters. However, given globally increasing temperatures, this might change in the future.