First record of an established marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017) population in Estonia.
Invasive marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017) is spreading alarmingly fast across European countries and beyond. Early maturation, parthenogenetic reproduction mode and high growth rate contribute to a high potential invasiveness. Marbled crayfish can pose severe effects on native communities impacting the native crayfish populations being carrier of the crayfish plague disease caused by Aphanomyces astaci. Here we report the first record of marbled crayfish in Estonia. In total, 104 individuals were found in the artificially warm outflow channel of the cooling system of Balti Power Plant, entering to the water reservoir of the River Narva. Molecular analyses confirmed the morphological identification of captured specimens as a marbled crayfish. Four out of six marbled crayfish individuals exhibited the presence of crayfish plague agent, though at very low level. This suggests that marbled crayfish can potentially be a new vector of crayfish plague in Estonian freshwater ecosystems containing native noble crayfish Astacus astacus populations. Monitoring and eradication actions are urgently needed not only in the outflow channel where the species was found but in the whole water reservoir and River Narva itself.