The invasive parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017 gets foothold in Belgium.
In 2020, four populations of the marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, which is included on the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern, were discovered in northern Belgium. These records represent the first established populations of this invasive parthenogenetic species in the Benelux. The marbled crayfish seems wellestablished at all sites where it was discovered. Genetic analysis confirmed the species' identity with the obtained COI Folmer fragments being 100 percent identical to reference sequences of P. virginalis from Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Czech Republic. We proposed a single diagnostic nucleotide for unambiguous character-based species identification between P. virginalis and P. fallax. The finding of this new species through opportunistic surveys instigated by citizen science reports indicates considerable knowledge gaps on crayfish distribution in Belgium. Considering the regulated status of most species in Belgium, we advocated the further set-up of dedicated crayfish surveillance using passive and active monitoring including environmental DNA detection.