Life history traits of the American spiny-cheek crayfish in two subalpine lakes.
The ecology of Faxonius limosus in non-native habitats is poorly understood and needs to be broadened to prevent and control its spread and protect native riverine decapod populations. The aim of this study was to describe some autecological traits of a spiny-cheek crayfish population established in two subalpine Italian lakes. We sampled the littoral zones in May and October 2014 by using hand-nets and baited traps: captured individuals were then sexed, weighed and measured. A population analysis was also performed using the modal progression analysis of length compositions. Our findings underlined the existence of four age classes (with a life expectancy of 3.5/4 years), a lower growth rate compared to other crayfish of the same family, and shift of the reproductive period respect to other studies on F. limosus. Our results suggested that eradication activities ought to be developed based on the situationality, and mitigating projects should be integrated with a continuous and practical monitoring programme to assess eventual changes in the ecological requirements of the investigated species. This becomes increasingly important as reintroduction or restocking of indigenous species could also be considered as a management strategy for F. limosus populations in the study area.