Genetic diversity and phenotypic variation of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) (Decapoda: Astacidea: Astacidae), in China.
The red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852), is a paradox in China because it has developed as a popular aquaculture species while becoming a notorious invasive species. We investigated the population genetic diversity and population dynamics of wild Chinese populations of P. clarkii based on proPO fragments and the morphological traits across these populations. The results showed that the populations of P. clarkii exhibit high genetic diversity and significant population structure, inferring that the crayfish was artificially transferred rapidly among different locations for different reasons. Results also revealed distinct phenotypic differentiation, with individuals of some populations having a shorter pleon and wider carapace width, whereas other populations have a small length to width ratio. This study provided comprehensive insights into the population dynamics and morphological variations of P. clarkii, which contribute to understanding the rapid evolution of phenotypic traits after its successful invasion. Results should help establish efficient management strategies for the control of the invasion and at the same time using the genetic information in crayfish aquaculture.