Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Potential of marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis to supplant invasive Faxonius immunis.

Abstract

Biological invasions are a growing threat to global biodiversity due to negative impacts on native biota and ecosystem functioning. Research has expanded from investigating native and alien species interactions to examining relationships among alien species. Invasive crayfish may have similar life histories, niche preferences, and adaptation strategies, but their mutual interactions are little understood. This study aimed to quantify interaction patterns of size-matched calico crayfish Faxonius immunis, established in the Rhine River catchment, and the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, currently spreading throughout Europe. During agonistic interactions in the absence of shelter, marbled crayfish won a significant majority of fights against calico crayfish, but in the presence of shelter there was no significant difference. When sex of calico crayfish was considered in the analysis without shelter, marbled crayfish won a significantly higher number of fights with female calico crayfish. In the absence of shelter, marbled crayfish dominated calico crayfish females in 83.3% and males in 60% of pairs. With available shelter, the dominance of marbled crayfish was 100% and 54.5% over female and male calico crayfish, respectively. The results suggested that sex and resource availability influence agonistic behaviour in the studied crayfish. Marbled crayfish are confirmed to be competitive against the calico crayfish, which has been shown to be dominant over another serious invader in the Rhine River catchment, the spiny-cheek crayfish Faxonius limosus. In natural sympatric populations, the situation may be affected by factors such as size, reproductive variables, water temperature, and predation pressure.