Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Procambarus clarkii
(red swamp crayfish)

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Datasheet

Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Vector of Animal Disease
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Procambarus clarkii
  • Preferred Common Name
  • red swamp crayfish
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Crustacea
  •         Class: Malacostraca

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult.
TitleAdult
CaptionProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult.
Copyright©Joaquim Alves Gaspar-2008/Lisboa, Portugal - CC BY-SA 3.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult.
AdultProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult.©Joaquim Alves Gaspar-2008/Lisboa, Portugal - CC BY-SA 3.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a lake. Gironde, France. June 2007.
TitleAdult
CaptionProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a lake. Gironde, France. June 2007.
Copyright©Duloup-2007/wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a lake. Gironde, France. June 2007.
AdultProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a lake. Gironde, France. June 2007.©Duloup-2007/wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, in defence posture. Ellis Lake Wetlands, Fairfield, Ohio, USA. July 2014.
TitleAdult
CaptionProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, in defence posture. Ellis Lake Wetlands, Fairfield, Ohio, USA. July 2014.
Copyright©Andrew C/acryptozoo/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, in defence posture. Ellis Lake Wetlands, Fairfield, Ohio, USA. July 2014.
AdultProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, in defence posture. Ellis Lake Wetlands, Fairfield, Ohio, USA. July 2014.©Andrew C/acryptozoo/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a small lake. Nr Kobe city, Japan. October 2014.
TitleAdult
CaptionProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a small lake. Nr Kobe city, Japan. October 2014.
Copyright©harum.koh-2014/Kobe city, Japan/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a small lake. Nr Kobe city, Japan. October 2014.
AdultProcambarus clarkii (red swamp crayfish); adult, from a small lake. Nr Kobe city, Japan. October 2014.©harum.koh-2014/Kobe city, Japan/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852)

Preferred Common Name

  • red swamp crayfish

Other Scientific Names

  • Procambarus clarki
  • Scapulicambarus clarkii

International Common Names

  • English: crawdaddy; crawfish, red swamp; crayfish, red swamp; Louisiana crawfish; Louisiana crayfish; red swamp crawfish
  • Spanish: cangrejo de rio
  • French: ecrevisse rouge de marais

Local Common Names

  • Italy: gamberi
  • Japan: zaragani

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. clarkii is highly invasive (Hentonnen and Huner, 1999; Holdich et al., 1999; Huner, 2002a). The species has either escaped from every earthen cultivation system in which it has been cultivated or has been intentionally relocated elsewhere in the region. Because the species (as well as other crayfish) are most valuable as live product for local preparation and it (and others) are so tolerant of aerial exposure, P. clarkii, in particular, has been widely introduced as a consequence of the release of live animals secured through the seafood industry rather than for aquacultural purposes. Furthermore, the species is widely available in the aquarium trade and there is likely to have been numerous introductions when concerned pet owners disposed of their crawfish by releasing them rather than killing them.

P. clarkii can persist in habitats and climates far different from those associated with its natural range. This species thrives now in tropical regions such as Ecuador and Uganda and cold temperate regions such as Germany. Therefore, P. clarkii must be classified as highly invasive.

It is very likely that P. clarkii has been successfully introduced into a number of locations that have yet to be formally documented either directly or indirectly through invasion from adjacent countries via shared watersheds. There seem to be few places where other freshwater crawfishes or freshwater decapods thrive that this species cannot colonize.

The impacts of P. clarkii introductions or invasions are characterized in detail in the following references Ackefors (1999), Holdich (1999), and Holdich et al. (1999). Hobbs et al. (1989) address the issue prior to the rapid expansion of P. clarkii’s range throughout Europe and elsewhere.

P. clarkii is omnivorous, causing significant destruction of macrophyes and preying heavily of insects and molluscs, thus reducing resources available for native species. It is a vector for a number of helminth species and has been implicated in transmitting crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) to native European crayfish, although P. clarkii is highly resistant to this disease.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Crustacea
  •                 Class: Malacostraca
  •                     Subclass: Eumalacostraca
  •                         Order: Decapoda
  •                             Suborder: Reptantia
  •                                 Unknown: Astacoidea
  •                                     Family: Cambaridae
  •                                         Genus: Procambarus
  •                                             Species: Procambarus clarkii

Description

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P. clarkii is a decapod crustacean having two distinct body divisions (Huner and Barr, 1991). There is the anterior cephalothorax with paired appendages including antennae, mouth parts, and walking legs and the major body organs and the posterior abdomen containing the major abductor muscles for rapid backward escape from real or perceived threats, and paired appendages associated with sperm transfer in males and incubation of eggs and developing embryos in females and the tail ‘fan’ in both sexes.

The intensity of coloration is dependent on the habitat. Colours are darkest in clear, acid-stained waters and lightest in opaque, muddy waters. The common name for P. clarkii is red swamp crawfish. This common name derives from the red coloration associated with the lateral body surfaces and the appendages. Prior to reaching maturity, the dominant coloration of P. clarkii is greenish-brown with intensity dictated by water clarity. However, red pigment can generally be detected on appendages, especially where walking legs join the body.

P. clarkii exhibits distinct secondary sexual characteristics once the species has reached maturity. Males have elongated, inflated chelae, distinct ischial hooks at the bases of the third and fourth pairs of walking legs and the tips of the gonopods, the first pair of abdominal appendages cornify and assume a very distinct morphology that is species specific in cambarid crawfishes. Chelae of females inflate somewhat as well and the sperm receptacle, located between the walking legs, cornifies and develops a species-specific morphology that is receptive only to the species-specific terminal ends of the male gonopods.

Size at maturation ranges from 5-10 g to as much as 50-60 g with total lengths of 5.5-6.5 cm and 10.5-11.5 cm. The common commercial size is 10-30 g or 7.5-10.5 cm. Therefore, size is not a satisfactory criterion for ascertaining the maturation status or age of this species, as well as any other freshwater crawfish for that matter.

Distribution

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P. clarkii has been introduced to a number of countries, including the Azores (A Correia, University of Lisbon, Portugal, personal communication, 2002).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Xinya , 1988
-GuangdongPresentIntroduced Invasive Xinya , 1988
-Hong KongPresentIntroduced Invasive Xinya , 1988
-HubeiPresentIntroduced Invasive Xinya , 1988
-JiangsuPresentIntroduced Invasive Xinya , 1988
Georgia (Republic of)PresentIntroducedISSG, 2010
IsraelPresentIntroducedISSG, 2010
JapanPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner and Barr , 1991
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedHentonnen and Huner , 1999
SingaporePresentIntroduced
TaiwanPresentIntroducedHentonnen and Huner , 1999; ISSG, 2010

Africa

EgyptPresentIntroduced Invasive Hentonnen and Huner , 1999
KenyaPresentIntroduced1970 Invasive Hentonnen and Huner , 1999; IPPC-Secretariat, 2005
South AfricaPresentIntroducedHentonnen and Huner , 1999
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
SudanPresentIntroducedISSG, 2010
UgandaPresentIntroduced Invasive Hentonnen and Huner , 1999
ZambiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Hentonnen and Huner , 1999

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner and Barr , 1991
USAPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-AlabamaPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-AlaskaPresentIntroducedUnited States Geological Survey, 2011
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-FloridaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-IdahoPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-IllinoisPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-IndianaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-KentuckyPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-LouisianaPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-MississippiPresentNative Invasive Huner , 2002a
-MissouriPresentNative Invasive Huner , 2002a
-NevadaPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-New YorkPresentIntroducedUnited States Geological Survey, 2011
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-OhioPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-OklahomaPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-OregonPresentIntroduced Invasive Huner , 2002a
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-TennesseePresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-TexasPresentNativeHuner , 2002a
-UtahPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedUnited States Geological Survey, 2011Plans to be eradicated in 2009

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresentIntroducedHuner and Barr , 1991
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedHuner and Barr , 1991
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedHuner and Barr , 1991
Puerto RicoPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedISSG, 2010

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
EcuadorPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedHuner , 2002a

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
CyprusPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
FrancePresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
GermanyPresentIntroducedHoldich and et al. , 1999
ItalyPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
NetherlandsPresentIntroducedHoldich and et al. , 1999
PolandPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
PortugalPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
-AzoresPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
SwedenAbsent, invalid recordIntroducedISSG, 2010Reported in error
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
UKPresentIntroduced Invasive Holdich and et al. , 1999
-England and WalesPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Azores 1990s Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
China Japan Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
China 1930s Private sector Yes No Huner and Barr (1991)
Costa Rica Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Cyprus Singapore 1984 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Private sector Yes No DIAS (2004)
Dominican Republic USA 1977 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Individual Yes No DIAS (2004)
Ecuador USA 1990s Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sector No No DIAS (2004)
Egypt Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
England and Wales Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
France Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
France Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Germany Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
Germany Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Hawaii USA 1934 Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Italy Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
Italy Kenya 1980s Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Japan USA 1930 Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Japan USA 1920s Private sector Yes No Huner and Barr (1991)
Kenya USA 1966 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Kenya Uganda 1966 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Panama USA 1987 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Portugal Spain 1979 Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
South Africa 1962 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Private sector Yes No DIAS (2004)
Spain USA 1974 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sector Yes No DIAS (2004)
Spain USA 1972 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
Sudan Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Switzerland Private sector Yes No Holdich and et al. (1999)
Taiwan Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No DIAS (2004)
Thailand Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Uganda Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Venezuela 1978 Unknown Yes No DIAS (2004)
Zambia Kenya 1978 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sector No No DIAS (2004)
Zimbabwe   No No DIAS (2007)

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details
Lakes Present, no further details
Ponds Present, no further details
Reservoirs Present, no further details
Rivers / streams Present, no further details
Terrestrial-managed
Ricefields Present, no further details
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Swamps Present, no further details

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Biomphalaria pfeifferi

Biology and Ecology

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Associations

Numerous authors report on the competition between P. clarkii and native crayfish. Hernandez et al. (2008) document the geographic expansion of P. clarkii in Mexico and discuss the consequence of a greater propagation of this species in Mexican inland waters. They suspect that this exotic spcies is competing for habitat and food with the native freshwater shrimp of the genus Macrobrachium in many sites of northern Mexico.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Tolerated Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 25 40
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 2 10

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Adult
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Broodstock
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Egg
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Larval
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Fry
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Adult
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Broodstock
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Egg
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Larval
Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Fry
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Adult
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Broodstock
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Egg
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Larval
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Fry
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Adult
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Broodstock
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Egg
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Larval
Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Fry
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 3 Harmful Adult Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 3 Harmful Broodstock Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 3 Harmful Egg Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 3 Harmful Larval Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 3 Harmful Fry Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5 Optimum Adult Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5 Optimum Broodstock Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5 Optimum Egg Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5 Optimum Larval Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5 Optimum Fry Amphibious; will use atmospheric oxygen at levels below 2-3 mg/L.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) >50 Optimum Adult Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) >50 Optimum Broodstock Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) >50 Optimum Egg Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) >50 Optimum Larval Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) >50 Optimum Fry Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) <10 >300 Harmful Adult Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) <10 >300 Harmful Broodstock Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) <10 >300 Harmful Egg Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) <10 >300 Harmful Larval Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) <10 >300 Harmful Fry Can thrive in systems as low as 5 mg/L if substrate rich in calcium.
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) >0 Harmful Adult
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) >0 Harmful Broodstock
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) >0 Harmful Egg
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) >0 Harmful Larval
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) >0 Harmful Fry
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) 0 Optimum Adult
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) 0 Optimum Broodstock
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) 0 Optimum Egg
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) 0 Optimum Larval
Hydrogen sulphide (mg/l) 0 Optimum Fry
Illumination (Lux illuminance) 0 Harmful Broodstock Spawning and incubation in burrows, no light; greatest activity at night, low illumination preferred.
Illumination (Lux illuminance) 0 Optimum Broodstock Spawning and incubation in burrows, no light; greatest activity at night, low illumination preferred.
Iron (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Adult
Iron (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Broodstock
Iron (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Egg
Iron (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Larval
Iron (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Fry
Iron (mg/l) >3.0 Harmful Adult
Iron (mg/l) >3.0 Harmful Broodstock
Iron (mg/l) >3.0 Harmful Egg
Iron (mg/l) >3.0 Harmful Larval
Iron (mg/l) >3.0 Harmful Fry
Nitrite (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Adult
Nitrite (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Broodstock
Nitrite (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Egg
Nitrite (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Larval
Nitrite (mg/l) <1.0 Optimum Fry
Nitrite (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Adult
Nitrite (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Broodstock
Nitrite (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Egg
Nitrite (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Larval
Nitrite (mg/l) >1.0 Harmful Fry
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Adult
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Broodstock
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Egg
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Larval
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Fry
Salinity (part per thousand) 3 Harmful Egg
Salinity (part per thousand) 3 Harmful Larval
Salinity (part per thousand) 9 Harmful Adult
Salinity (part per thousand) 9 Harmful Broodstock
Salinity (part per thousand) 9 Harmful Fry
Spawning temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Broodstock
Spawning temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Broodstock
Water pH (pH) 7.0 Optimum Adult
Water pH (pH) 7.0 Optimum Broodstock
Water pH (pH) 7.0 Optimum Egg
Water pH (pH) 7.0 Optimum Larval
Water pH (pH) 7.0 Optimum Fry
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >8.5 Harmful Adult
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >8.5 Harmful Broodstock
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >8.5 Harmful Egg
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >8.5 Harmful Larval
Water pH (pH) <6.5 >8.5 Harmful Fry
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Broodstock
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Egg
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Larval
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Fry
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Broodstock
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Egg
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Larval
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 30 Harmful Fry

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture Yes
Biological controlTo reduce number of snail hosts of disease-causing organisms Yes
Hunting, angling, sport or racing Yes
Live food or feed trade Yes
Pet trade Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Bait Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Positive
Native fauna Negative
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species Negative

Economic Impact

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Introductions of P. clarkii have had both positive and negative economic impacts. Major fisheries have developed in China and Spain. Minor fisheries have developed in Kenya and California (USA). Negative economic impacts have been reported in China, Spain, and California, where damage to levées and dikes used to control water levels and fields and direct water for irrigation purposes has created some direct problems. However, the overall value of the fisheries that developed from the introductions has mitigated such problems and engineers have developed strategies to cope with damage to earthen works.

Environmental Impact

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P. clarkii is an aggressive r-selected species that can generate standing stocks in excess of 1000 kg per ha in the absence of controlling factors such as predators, especially fishes. Although P. clarkii is not a vegetarian species, it will often cut stalks of rooted aquatic and semi-aquatic plants causing significant destruction of macrophytes and generating significant increases in water turbidity. Because the species preys heavily on invertebrates, especially aquatic insects and molluscs, it can significantly reduce the resources and compete with other consumers of these resources, especially fish.

Example studies include that of Geiger et al. (2005) who present a review on the ecological impacts of P. clarkii on the Mediterranean wetlands. It efficiently grazes on macrophytes and is one of the main factors, besides the impact of flamingos, cattle and introduced fish, of the change of many water bodies from a macrophyte dominated, clear water equilibrium to a phytoplankton driven turbid water balanace. Juveniles compete wiith other crayfish and fish species for food. In addition to it acting as a vector of disease, P. clarkii accumulates heavy metals and other pollutants in its organs and body tissues, and transmits them to higher trophic levels.

In a similar case study, Rodriguez et al. (2005) report on the introducion of P. clarkii in a lake at Leon (northwest Spain) which switched the clear water conditions that harboured an abundant and quite high richness of plants, invertebrates, amphibians and birds to a turbid one, followed by strong losses in species abundance and richness. they concluded that the introduction of crayfish in shallow plant-dominated lakes in Spain is a main risk for richness maintenence in these endangered ecosystems.

In Kenya, it is reported as significantly reducing flora and fauna as well as increasing water turbidity (IPPC Secretariat, 2005).  

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Ambystoma californiense (California tiger salamander)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009
Gila robusta (roundtail chub)NT (IUCN red list: Near threatened) NT (IUCN red list: Near threatened)Arizona; California; NevadaEcosystem change / habitat alteration; PredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale (Sonoyta mud turtle)USA ESA species proposed for listing USA ESA species proposed for listingArizonaPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014b
Thamnophis eques megalops (northern Mexican garter snake)USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesArizona; New MexicoPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014a

Social Impact

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Considerable controversy always follows the introduction of any aggressive plant or animal species. Those concerned with the impact on native floras and faunas express considerable concern over the changes that are caused by introduced species. Although the literature is sparse, it is clear that considerable controversy was associated with the introductions of P. clarkii in Japan and China during the first half of the twentieth century. The situation quieted in both areas in the last half of the twentieth century because as the species became acclimatized, ecosystem changes took place with P. clarkii being an integral component of those ecosystems. The facts that P. clarkii was accepted as a food and became an important commercial species in China mitigated social conflicts there. The situation in Europe is evolving as P. clarkii continues to expand its range since primary introductions in the 1970s.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value 

The species has been widely introduced because of its harvest value to humans (IPPC Secretariat, 2005). The species is also widely available in the aquarium trade.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Bait/attractant
  • Live feed

General

  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Canned meat
  • Fish meal
  • Fresh meat
  • Frozen meat
  • Live product for human consumption
  • Whole

Materials

  • Shell

Prevention and Control

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Control

Lodge et al. (2000) outline recommendations for reducing future non-indigenous crayfish introductions in the USA via the routes of aquaculture, the aquarium and pond trade, biological supply trade and live bait. They present a series of suggestions for controlling potentially invasive crayfish which include:

  • prevention of moving animals from state to state
  • eradicate target pest species
  • introduce stringent criteria for preventing escapes from outdoor aquaculture facilities
  • provide educational materials for the hobbyist, teacher and students regarding releases in the wild
  • banning the use of crayfish as live bait.

For more information on control please see Holdich et al. (1999b) and DAISIE (2011).

Monitoring and Surveillance

Barbaresi et al. (2003) surveyed the genetic variability of five European populations of invasive crayfish using RAPDs. Variation was so high that it was possible to uniquely fingerprint most of the surveyed individuals. Their results suggest that RAPDs could be helpful in providing information about human-mediated introduced populations.

References

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Hentonnen P, Huner JV, 1999. The introduction of alien species of crayfish in Europe. An introduction. In: Gherardi F, Holdich DM, eds. Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species. How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation? Brookfiled, Rotterdam: AA Balkema, 13-22.

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Hobbs HH III, Jass J, Huner JV, 1989. A review of global crayfish introductions with particular emphasis on two North American species (Decapoda, Cambaridae). Crustaceana, 65:299-316.

Hogger JB, 1988. Ecology, population biology, and behaviour. In: Holdich DM, Lowery RS, eds. Freshwater Crayfish. Biology, Management and Exploitation. London, Portland: Croom Helm Ltd., 114-144, 424-479.

Holdich DM, 1999. The negative effects of established crayfish introductions. In: Gherardi F, Holdich DM, eds. Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species. How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation? Brookfiled, Rotterdam: AA Balkema, 31-48.

Holdich DM, Ackefors H, Gherardi F, Rogers WD, Skurdal J, 1999. Native and alien crayfish in Europe: some conclusions. In: Gheradi F, Holdich DM, eds. Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species. How to Make the Best of a Bad Situation? Brookfield, Rotterdam: AA Balkema, 281-291.

Holdich DM, Reeve ID, 1988. Functional morphology and anatomy. In: Holdich DM, Lowery RS, eds. Freshwater Crayfish. Biology, Management and Exploitation. London, Portland: Croom Helm Ltd., 11-51, 424-479.

Huner JV, 1994. Cultivation of freshwater crayfishes in North America. Section I: Freshwater crayfish culture. In: Huner JV, ed. Freshwater Crayfish Aquaculture in North America, Europe, and Australia. Families Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae. New York, London, Norwood: The Haworth Press, Inc., 5-89, 137-156.

Huner JV, 2002. Procambarus. Biology of freshwater crayfish, 541-584.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
DAISIE Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europehttp://www.europe-aliens.org/index.jsp
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Louisiana State University Agricultural Centrehttp://www.agctr.lsu.edu/
Lousiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Boardhttp://www.crawfish.org
Southern Regional Aquaculture Centre, Mississippi State Universityhttp://www.msstate.edu/dept/srac/

Contributors

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05/04/2011 Updated by:

Vicki Bonham, CABI, Nosworthy Way, Wallingford, OX10 8DE, UK

Main Author
Jay Huner
University of Southwestern Louisiana at Lafayette, Crawfish Research Center, 1031 W. J. Bernard, St. Martinville, LA 70582, USA

Distribution Maps

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