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Faxonius limosus
(Spiny-cheek crayfish)

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Datasheet

Faxonius limosus (Spiny-cheek crayfish)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Faxonius limosus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Spiny-cheek crayfish
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Crustacea
  •         Class: Malacostraca
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Faxonius limosus (formerly Orconectes limosus) is a crayfish native to the Atlantic watershed of North America. It was introduced to Europe in the 1890s for use in aquaculture, and is considered one of...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review.

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Faxonius limosus [ex. Orconectes limosus] (spiny-cheeked crayfish); adult. Form 1 male, captured from Lake Constance, Germany. May 2013.
TitleAdult
CaptionFaxonius limosus [ex. Orconectes limosus] (spiny-cheeked crayfish); adult. Form 1 male, captured from Lake Constance, Germany. May 2013.
Copyright©Astacoides/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Faxonius limosus [ex. Orconectes limosus] (spiny-cheeked crayfish); adult. Form 1 male, captured from Lake Constance, Germany. May 2013.
AdultFaxonius limosus [ex. Orconectes limosus] (spiny-cheeked crayfish); adult. Form 1 male, captured from Lake Constance, Germany. May 2013.©Astacoides/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Faxonius limosus (Rafinesque, 1817)

Preferred Common Name

  • Spiny-cheek crayfish

Other Scientific Names

  • Astacus affinis
  • Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817)

Local Common Names

  • Czech Republic: rak pruhovaný
  • France: écrevisse américaine
  • Germany: Kamberkrebs
  • Italy: gambero americano
  • Netherlands: amerikaanse rivierkreeft
  • Poland: rak pregowany
  • Russian Federation: polosatyi rak

Summary of Invasiveness

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Faxonius limosus (formerly Orconectes limosus) is a crayfish native to the Atlantic watershed of North America. It was introduced to Europe in the 1890s for use in aquaculture, and is considered one of the most invasive crayfish there; it is included in the list of species of Union concern attached to the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species. It is an omnivorous species, feeding on aquatic vegetation, fish eggs and invertebrates, and thus affecting biodiversity. It is a carrier of crayfish plague, lethal for the European native crayfish. It can destabilize riverbanks, and modify other habitats, due to its burrowing behaviour. It can live in a variety of habitats, has a high dispersal capability and can spread both unaided and facilitated (deliberately or accidentally) by humans. As well as Europe, it has also been reported in Morocco. It is known or suspected to have been introduced in parts of its North American range, but it is not considered to be particularly invasive there (and is thought to have been extirpated from West Virginia by F. virilis).

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: Faxonius
  •                                             Species: Faxonius limosus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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According to Crandall and De Grave (2017), the accepted name of the species is Faxonius limosus (Rafinesque, 1817), replacing the previous name Orconectes limosus. The English common name of the species is ‘spiny-cheek crayfish’.

Description

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Detailed descriptions are provided by Hamr (2002) and Souty-Grosset et al. (2006).

Faxonius limosus has an anterior cephalothorax, comprising the head and the thorax, with two pairs of antennae, claws, mouth, and walking legs, and a posterior abdomen with appendages, used mainly by females for incubating eggs, and the “fan” tail.

It has a pale or dark brown or olive-green body (the colour depends partly on the environment where it lives) with a typical transverse brown-red band in each abdominal segment. The carapace is relatively smooth, but it has prominent spines on each side (hence the common name in English). The claws are generally small with rows of pits on the surface, smooth to touch; their tips are orange with black bands. Females have a seminal receptacle (annulus ventralis) at the bases of the posterior walking legs; males have the first and second appendages of abdomen (gonopods) modified for copulation. The reproductive Form I males have harder gonopods, and a more robust exoskeleton than Form II males which are the non-reproductive form. Sexually active males have grasping hooks on the ischium of the 2nd pair of walking legs. Total length can be up to 12 cm, but it is usually 10 cm (without claws).

Distribution

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Faxonius limosus is native to the Atlantic watershed of North America, specifically the lower catchment of the River Delaware, the area around Chesapeake Bay (Pennsylvania and Maryland), and possibly also other rivers of this region such as the Susquehanna (Filipová et al., 2011; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017). It occurs in Québec, New Brunswick, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia (IUCN, 2019). Its presence in West Virginia is uncertain -- Swecker et al. (2010) reported its possible extirpation by F. virilis. It has been introduced to New Hampshire and Maine (Hamr, 2002), but is probably also introduced in many of the states mentioned above (Hamr, 2002; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017). In Canada it is uncertain whether it was introduced, whether it has spread naturally or whether its presence was underestimated in the past; Hamr, 2002). It is the most introduced crayfish in Europe, where it is reported in 24 territories (Kouba et al., 2014; Trichkova et al., 2015; Govedič, 2017), including Corsica (Kouba et al., 2014) and the UK (Holdich and Black, 2007), and is particularly widespread in Germany, Poland and France. It has also been introduced in Morocco (Holdich et al., 2006).

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.

Last updated: 20 Mar 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

MoroccoPresentIntroduced1988Huner JV (1988)

Europe

AustriaPresentIntroduced1969InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
BelarusPresentIntroducedInvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)First reported: 1990s
BelgiumPresentIntroduced1977InvasiveBoets et al. (2016)
BulgariaPresentIntroduced2015Trichkova T et al. (2015)
CroatiaPresentIntroduced2003InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
CzechiaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)First reported: 1960s
FrancePresent, WidespreadIntroduced1896InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedHoldich DM et al. (2006)
GermanyPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1895InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
HungaryPresentIntroduced1959InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
ItalyPresentIntroducedInvasiveAquiloni et al. (2010)
LatviaPresentIntroducedHoldich et al. (2009)
LithuaniaPresentIntroduced1994InvasiveRakauskas V et al. (2010)
LuxembourgPresentIntroduced1978Ries C and Pfeiffenschneider M (2018)
MontenegroPresentIntroducedSimić et al. (2008)
NetherlandsPresentIntroducedInvasiveGeelen JFM (1978)First reported: 1960s
PolandPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1890InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
RomaniaPresentIntroduced2008InvasivePârvulescu L et al. (2009)
RussiaPresent, LocalizedCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution
-Central RussiaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2000InvasiveBurba A (2010)Kaliningrad
SerbiaPresentIntroduced2002InvasiveHoldich DM et al. (2006)
SlovakiaPresentIntroduced2007InvasivePârvulescu L et al. (2009)
SloveniaPresentIntroduced2015InvasiveGovedič (2017)
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced1976InvasiveHefti D and Stucki P (2006)
United KingdomPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1995InvasiveHoldich and Black (2007); Aldridge D (2011)

North America

CanadaPresent, LocalizedCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution
-New BrunswickPresentFilipová et al. (2011); IUCN (2019)Possibly introduced
-QuebecPresentFilipová et al. (2011); IUCN (2019)Possibly introduced
United StatesPresent, LocalizedCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution
-ConnecticutPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-DelawarePresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-District of ColumbiaPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-MainePresentIntroducedHamr (2002)
-MarylandPresentNativeHamr (2002)
-MassachusettsPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedHamr (2002)
-New JerseyPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-New YorkPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-PennsylvaniaPresentNativeHamr (2002)
-Rhode IslandPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-VermontPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-VirginiaPresentHamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Possibly introduced
-West VirginiaAbsentSwecker et al. (2010); Hamr (2002); Filipová et al. (2011)Native, but probably extirpated by Faxonius virilis

History of Introduction and Spread

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Initial spread of Faxonius limosus has been mainly as a result of human activity: in Europe it was first introduced in 1890 in Poland for aquaculture to replace the local native crayfish Astacus astacus which was experiencing a severe decrease (Hamr, 2002; Holdich and Black, 2007). It was later introduced in several European states for the same reason (e.g. Germany in 1895; France unsuccessfully in 1896 and successfully in 1911-13; Hungary in 1959; Austria in 1969). It can be introduced also as live bait or as an aquarium species (as probably occurred in the UK: Holdich and Black, 2007) or as contaminant of fish stocking (e.g. in Italy; Aquiloni et al., 2010), or by other accidental means such as being caught up in fishing nets (Holdich et al., 2006). It has also spread naturally through rivers and canals (as happened within France, Poland and Germany; in Belarus from Poland; and in Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria along the Danube river system).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Poland USA 1890 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006) To replace declining native crayfish in aquaculture
Germany Poland 1895 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006) To replace declining native crayfish in aquaculture
France USA 1896 Aquaculture (pathway cause) No No Holdich et al. (2006)
France Germany 1911-1913 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006)
Hungary Germany 1959 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006)
Belarus Poland 1990s Interconnected waterways (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006)
Lithuania Poland 1994 Interconnected waterways (pathway cause) Yes No Rakauskas et al. (2010)
Croatia Hungary 2003 Interconnected waterways (pathway cause) Yes No Holdich et al. (2006)
Romania Serbia 2008 Interconnected waterways (pathway cause) Yes No Pârvulescu et al. (2009) Along the Danube river
Central Russia Lithuania 2010 Interconnected waterways (pathway cause) Yes No Burba (2010) Kaliningrad region

Risk of Introduction

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Notwithstanding that Faxonius limosus is widely recognized as invasive and at least in the European Union is banned by the new regulation on invasive alien species, new findings are reported, because it can spread naturally along rivers and canals, as happened for the recent records in eastern Europe.

Habitat

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Hamr (2002) states that “in North America, the species inhabits soft-bottomed, silty, turbid waters such as found in large rivers, wide streams and lakes with abundant vegetation, although in Canada it has been found occupying stony streams with a moderate current”. In Europe, it occupies a wider range of habitats including cool, fast waters, predominantly occurring in larger watercourses, but preferring lentic, warm, deep waters such as ponds and lakes with shallow bottoms having a layer of sediment (Buřič et al., 2009b), in which it digs burrows (Kouba et al., 2016). It can inhabit water bodies that are organically or inorganically polluted (Holdich et al., 2006). Although it is usually found in lowland waters, in Morocco (North Africa), introduced populations have become established at altitudes between 1400 and 2078 m above sea level (Holdich et al., 2006).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Lakes Principal habitat Natural
Reservoirs Principal habitat Natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
Ponds Principal habitat Natural
Brackish
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Similarly to F. rusticus, Faxonius limosus has been reported to form hybrids with F. propinquus in Canada (Hamr, 2002).

Genetic analyses conducted by Filipová et al. (2011) have shown that all the European stocks of F. limosus originate from the first introduction of 90 specimens in 1890.

Reproductive Biology

A detailed description of the reproductive biology of Faxonius limosus is provided by Hamr (2002). As in other cambarid species, males transfer sperm into the annulus ventralis (a seminal receptacle) of females; males show cyclic dimorphism, alternating between the reproductively active form I and the reproductively inactive form II (Buřič et al., 2010) .The species mates in autumn and spring. In both North America and Europe, reproduction can occur once or twice per year, depending on the area. Females mated in autumn store the sperm until spring (late April or May) in the annulus ventralis; eggs are laid as water temperatures begin to increase (Hamr, 2002; Holdich and Black, 2007). Females can lay from 30 to 440 eggs, which are carried under the abdomen (Hamr, 2002), but the usual range is between 50 and 300 (Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017). On average, eggs hatch after 40 to 50 days (Hamr, 2002; Kozák et al., 2006). Young crayfish are similar to adults and become free-living and actively feeding at the third development stage (after 10 days). Maturity is usually reached during the second year (15-16 months; Hamr, 2002; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017), but some juveniles can mature and reproduce within the first year (Kozák et al., 2007). The size at maturity is 25-35 mm cephalothorax length (Hamr, 2002). Under laboratory conditions, females have been shown to reproduce by facultative parthenogenesis and to store sperm (Buřič et al., 2011, 2013).

Physiology and Phenology

Faxonius limosus is generally considered a tertiary burrower, i.e. it builds burrows only for reproduction or to escape extreme conditions (Thoma, 2015). It has been found to burrow extensively in England but not in other European countries or in North America (Holdich and Black, 2007; Aldridge, 2011). Short burrows have been observed in France (Holdich and Black, 2007) and in the laboratory under drought conditions (Kouba et al., 2016). More complex burrows have been reported in the Czech Republic in soft substrata (Holdich and Black, 2007).

Low temperature is not an obstacle to activity or to mating; Faxonius limosus has been observed to mate regularly mate at 15-16°C, but also at 3-5°C (Holdich and Black, 2007), and even in only a few millimetres of water (Aldridge, 2011).

Longevity

The life span of Faxonius limosus is usually 2-3 years, but it can live for up to 4 years (Hamr, 2002; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017).

Activity Patterns

Faxonius limosus is most active from spring to autumn (May to October) at temperatures above 3°C, but it is known to be active under ice in France during the winter (Baldry, 2007), and many have been observed in the UK from November to January (water temperature: 6-7°C; Holdich and Black, 2007). Depending on the environment and period of life cycle, it can be active both by day or by night (Musil et al., 2010), or more during the day (during the breeding season; Buřič et al., 2009a).

Faxonius limosus can move across land (Puky, 2014), even in winter (Holdich and Black, 2007). Males can be more nomadic during the reproductive period, when they are searching for mates, while females may move less when they bear eggs and more after hatching (Buřič et al., 2009a).

Population Size and Structure

In the field, Faxonius limosus occurs in densities of up to 70 individuals/m2 in Poland (reviewed in Nyström, 1999), or 16 individuals/m2 in Italy and Germany (Pilotto et al., 2008; Hirsch, 2009). It spreads rapidly through contiguous water courses and within lakes. The sex-ratio can vary according to season, habitat and area.

Nutrition

Like other crayfish, Faxonius limosus is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of food items: macroinvertebrates, aquatic plants, fish eggs, and detritus (Hamr, 2002; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017). It is a voracious feeder, having high consumption rates (Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

In both the native and the introduced range, Faxonius limosus experiences hot and cold temperature extremes (Aldridge, 2011). However, under laboratory conditions simulating climate change, it reduced its agonistic behaviour at the higher temperature, with the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii outcompeting it (Gherardi et al., 2013). It is tolerant to deoxygenated, eutrophic or polluted water (Holdich and Black, 2007; Alekhnovich and Buřič, 2017). In Austria, it has been reported to reach a high density in a waterbody that is oily and muddy, with other aquatic fauna excluded, indicating low water quality (Pöckl, 1999). It can tolerate drying conditions for many weeks (Laurent, 1988; Holdich et al., 2006). It has been showed to reproduce successfully at salinity values up to 7 ‰ (Jaszczolt and Szaniawska, 2011), with individuals having been found also in brackish waters with salinity of up to 10 ‰.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Preferred Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30-52

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Salinity (part per thousand) up to 10 Optimum Jaszczolt and Szaniawska (2011)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anguilla Predator not specific
Cyprinus carpio Predator not specific
Esox lucius Predator not specific
Fulica atra Predator not specific
Lota lota Predator not specific
Lutra lutra Predator not specific
Neovison vison Predator not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Predators include several fish, such as carp (Cyprinus carpio), pike (Esox lucius), eel (Anguilla anguilla) or burbot (Lota lota); aquatic birds, such as coots (Fulica spp.), herons or cormorants; or mammals, such as otters (Lutra lutra) or mink (Holdich et al., 2006; Holdich and Black, 2007). Large individuals are not much predated as they usually cross the spinous claws and keep them locked, forming a “spinous ball” which is not easy to swallow (Holdich et al., 2006).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Faxonius limosus is capable of moving across land (Puky, 2014), even in winter (Holdich and Black, 2007). Males can be more nomadic during the reproductive period, when they are searching for mates, while females may move less when they bear eggs and more after hatching (Buřič et al., 2009a). In the Czech Republic, the species showed a high dispersal rate with no directional preference during summer (up to 15 m/day: Buřič et al., 2009a, b). In Lake Constance, radio-tracked individuals moved distances of up to 1200 m within 4 days, mostly remaining within the littoral zone at less than 3 m depth (Hirsch et al., 2016). In Croatia, the rate of upstream dispersal in the Drava River has been reported to be less than 2.5 km/year (Hudina et al., 2009). In the River Danube, in Hungary, the speed of colonization has been estimated to be more than 13 km/year (Puky and Schád, 2006). In Belarus, since 1997, it has spread 177 km upstream along the course of the Neman River from the Grodno region (Aklehnovich and Razlutskij, 2013).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

In other crayfish (e.g. Procambarus clarkii: Anastácio et al., 2014), it has been reported that juveniles could possibly be transported by aquatic birds over short or medium distances. A similar mechanism could be hypothesized for Faxonius limosus.

Accidental Introduction

Faxonius limosus can be introduced as live bait, or as an aquarium species which can reach the wild if dumped into the water (Holdich and Black, 2007) or as a contaminant of fish stocking (Aquiloni et al., 2010). Getting caught up in fishing nets is another means of accidental introduction (Holdich et al., 2006).

Intentional Introduction

Faxonius limosus has been introduced for aquaculture and food (Hamr, 2002; Holdich and Black, 2007).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AquacultureMain cause in Europe Yes Holdich et al., 2006
Aquarium tradeProbably cause of introduction to UK Yes Holdich and Black, 2007
Fisheries Yes Holdich et al., 2006
HitchhikerFishing nets or shipments of fish for stocking Yes ,
Hunting, angling, sport or racingAs bait, or contaminant of angling material Yes Holdich and Black, 2007
Hunting, angling, sport or racingAs bait, or contaminant of angling material Yes Aquiloni et al., 2010
Interconnected waterwaysReached a number of European countries in this way Yes Holdich et al., 2006

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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Due to the burrowing behaviour of Faxonius limosus, riverbanks can be affected and destabilized, with consequent damage to infrastructure nearby (Aldridge, 2011). Angling/fisheries could be impacted by the species, e.g. by its feeding on fish eggs or by competing with fish (Souty-Grosset et al., 2006; Aldridge, 2011). According to Laurent (1988), any economic loss in Europe was to the crayfish industry and was moderate.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

In experimental flumes, Statzner et al. (2000, 2003) showed that Faxonius limosus at a fixed biomass (174 g/m2) significantly affected sand and gravel erosion. Its effect as a bioturbator varied as a function of the presence of refugia and aggression. Bioturbation by crayfish was found to change bedform roughness, physical particle consolidation, the proportion of sand in gravel interstices, sand cover by gravel, and the cover of filamentous algae. Such changes may in turn affect the abundance and structure of the entire benthic community, e.g. by modifying the substrate or by reducing algae and biofilm available for grazers. Also, sand reduction among gravel might alter the egg survival of gravel-breeding fish, like salmonids. Recent experiments conducted in seminatural conditions in the USA confirmed that the species is a bioturbator and can alter surface and subsurface gravel arrangement and bed topography (Albertson and Daniels, 2018). Being an omnivorous species, it can cause a decrease in macrophyte cover, macroinvertebrate abundance and diversity, altering the ecosystem function (Vojkovská et al., 2014; Šidagytė et al., 2017). Generally, in Europe its population density appears much higher than of the native species, and has been reported to be equivalent to much or most of the biomass of macroinvertebrates and fish (Haertel-Borer et al., 2005).

Impact on Biodiversity

Faxonius limosus is not considered particularly invasive in North America, where it faces competition from other crayfish species, particularly F. rusticus (Hamr, 2002), although it appears to have displaced F. virilis in the lower St Lawrence River (Hamr, 2002). Since its introduction to continental Europe, it has proved to be extremely invasive, active and aggressive (Holdich, 2002; Souty-Grosset et al., 2006; Lozan, 2000; Musil et al., 2010; Kouba et al., 2014), displacing native crayfish populations through competition for resources and the transmission of crayfish plague caused by the oomycete Aphanomyces astaci (Holdich et al., 2006Kozubíková et al., 2006; Holdich and Black, 2007Kozák et al., 2007; Musil et al., 2010; Pârvulescu et al., 2012). In the 1990s, the main catch in Hungary was the native Astacus astacus, but F. limosus is now the most abundant crayfish (Holdich et al., 2006). It is almost impossible to restock native crayfish where it is present (Souty-Grosset et al., 2006).

Using mesocosm experiments, Hirsch and Fischer (2008) found that the invasive Faxonius limosus successfully repelled native young-of-year burbot Lota lota from their preferred daytime shelters into alternative, previously unselected shelters. They also affected the nocturnal behaviour of YOY burbot by eliciting avoidance behavior, and caused an increase in the plasma cortisol levels. However, they did not change adult burbot behaviour.

Faxonius limosus is omnivorous and, being able to reach high densities, can impact native macroinvertebrates and macrophytes. Detritus and plant materials (including roots) were found to be the main component of its diet (Vojkovská et al., 2014); combining laboratory and field approaches, Šidagytė et al. (2017) found that, compared to the European Astacus leptodactylus (Pontastacus leptodactylus), it has a more diverse predatory diet, being less selective, and can thus have a stronger effect on macroinvertebrate taxa sensitive to disturbances, possibly altering macroinvertebrate assemblages and compromising conventional ecological assessment.

It is particularly interesting to investigate the relationship of Faxonius limosus with other invasive crayfish such as F. rusticus, Procambarus clarkii and Pacifastacus leniusculus, which are considered to have more destructive effects than F. limosus (Wilson et al., 2004; Dunoyer et al., 2014). Under laboratory conditions, in interspecific pairs formed by Pacifastacus leniusculus and F. limosus, the former is more prone to fighting than the latter, which consistently retreated from staged bouts as fights became more intense (Hudina and Hock, 2012). In the wetlands of ‘Parc Naturel Régional de la Brenne’ (Indre department, Centre region, France), both P. clarkii and F. limosus have coexisted since 2007, but the latter species is declining due to the higher invasiveness and aggressiveness of the former (Tricarico and Aquiloni, 2016).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Orconectes virilis (virile crayfish)No DetailsUSACompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified)Hamr, 2002
Faxonius propinquusNo DetailsUSAHybridizationHamr, 2002
Austropotamobius pallipes (freshwater white-clawed crayfish)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Pest and disease transmissionHoldich et al., 2006
Astacus astacus (European crayfish)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable)Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Pest and disease transmissionHoldich et al., 2006
Astacus leptodactylus (Danube crayfish)No DetailsCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Pest and disease transmissionHoldich et al., 2006

Social Impact

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Faxonius limosus “does not appear to have caused much social or other harm in North America. However, it has affected those whose livelihoods depend on harvesting native crayfish in continental Europe, even [though] a quantification has never been performed” (Souty-Grosset et al., 2006; Aldridge, 2011).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition (unspecified)
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Hybridization
  • Predation
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

Although Faxonius limosus is abundant and common, and has been used for food (Hamr, 2002), it has not been used extensively for commercial purposes for two reasons: in many European countries, it is considered to be characteristic of eutrophic or polluted waters; and it is smaller than the European A. astacus or the other North American species Pacifastacus leniusculus or Procambarus clarkii (Hamr, 2002; Holdich et al., 2006). It can be used as live bait or as an aquarium species (Holdich and Black, 2007), or as a research model (Tricarico and Aquiloni, 2016).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Bait/attractant

General

  • Pet/aquarium trade
  • Research model

Human food and beverage

  • Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)

Detection and Inspection

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Traps can be used for surveillance and monitoring of Faxonius limosus, even if they are not always effective when it is at low density. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been used to successfully detect the species in Europe (Mauvisseau et al., 2018). Citizen science could be promoted to monitor its introduction and spread.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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There are more than 60 Faxonius species in North America. The spines on both sides of the carapace and the red-brown bands on the abdomen are characteristics of Faxonius limosus.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Prevention

Like many other aquatic species, Faxonius limosus is difficult to eradicate once established. A ban on live sales would be an effective means of limiting the risk of its introduction. In Europe, it is indeed included in the list of species of Union concern attached to the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species. Inclusion in the list leads to a complete ban on the species in the European Union.

Early warning systems

Traps can be used for surveillance and monitoring of Faxonius limosus, even if they are not always effective when it is at low density. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been used to successfully detect the species in Europe (Mauvisseau et al., 2018). Citizen science could be promoted to monitor its introduction and spread.

Public awareness

Campaigns to educate and increase awareness on Faxonius limosus can be effective in curbing illegal introductions, especially if targeted at specific sectors.

Control

Physical/mechanical control

The use of baited traps can reduce the density of Faxonius limosus population. However, juveniles and ovigerous females can be trap-shy and thus less trapped; moreover, the species can burrow, making trapping less effective. Long-term trapping programmes are necessary for effectiveness, and usually mechanical removal should be coupled with another technique. Draining invaded ponds has been suggested as a control method but, due to its burrowing behaviour, even drying out for a considerable time might not result in the complete removal of the species (Holdich and Black, 2007).

Movement control

Beaver dams, hydro dams, flood control weirs and waterfalls can block or at least slow movement of crayfish rather effectively (Gherardi et al., 2011).

Biological control

The use of native predators in combination with intensive trapping has been proved to be effective in other invasive congeneric crayfish (e.g. F. rusticus in the USA: Hein et al., 2007), and could presumably be used for control of Faxonius limosus.

Chemical control

In France, various organophosphate insecticides have been tested on Faxonius limosus from Lake Geneva; fenthion (no longer approved for use in the EU – Pesticide Properties DataBase, 2019) was effective at concentrations much lower than those required to kill finfish, but the toxicity of the biocide lasted several weeks. In field trials, fishes, frogs, mammals, many species of Rotifera, and molluscs were not affected, but insects and other crustaceans were killed with the exception of Copepoda (Laurent, 1995).

Synthetic pyrethroids have been suggested but never tested (Holdich and Black, 2007).

IPM

Management practices can be more effective at the early stage of invasion in a closed system (e.g. a pond). An integrated approach is recommended (Gherardi et al., 2011; Stebbing, 2016; Stebbing et al., 2014).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More research is needed to better assess the physiological tolerance threshold of Faxonius limosus and quantify its ecological impacts (there are many more publications on other invasive crayfish such as F. rusticus, Procambarus clarkii and Pacifastacus leniusculus), to test effective management techniques, and to evaluate the relationship with other invasive crayfish.

References

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Distribution References

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Aquiloni L, Tricarico E, Gherardi F, 2010. Crayfish in Italy: distribution, threats and management. International Aquatic Research. 2 (1), 1-14. http://www.intelaquares.com/doc/1b.pdf

Boets P, Brosens D, Lock K, Adriaens T, Aelterman B, Mertens J, Goethals P L M, 2016. Alien macroinvertebrates in Flanders (Belgium). Aquatic Invasions. 11 (2), 131-144. http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2016/AI_2016_Boets_etal.pdf DOI:10.3391/ai.2016.11.2.03

Burba A, 2010. The dispersal of the invasive spinycheek crayfish, Orconectes limosus, throughout Lithuanian waters. Freshwater Crayfish. 17 (1), 67-72.

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Filipová L, Lieb D A, Grandjean F, Petrusek A, 2011. Haplotype variation in the spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus: colonization of Europe and genetic diversity of native stocks. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 30 (4), 871-881. http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1899/10-130.1 DOI:10.1899/10-130.1

Geelen JFM, 1978. The distribution of the crayfish Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque) and Astacus astacus (L.) (Crustacea, Decapoda) in the Netherlands. Zoologische Bijdrage. 4-21.

Govedič M, 2017. First record of the spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) in Slovenia - 300 km upstream from its known distribution in the Drava River. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems. 7. https://www.kmae-journal.org/articles/kmae/full_html/2017/01/kmae160133/kmae160133.html

Hamr P, 2002. Orconectes. In: Biology of freshwater crayfish. [ed. by Holdich D M]. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science. 585-608.

Hefti D, Stucki P, 2006. Crayfish management for Swiss waters. Bulletin Français de la Pêche et de la Pisciculture. 937–950. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae:2006033

Holdich D M, Reynolds J D, Souty-Grosset C, Sibley P J, 2009. A review of the ever increasing threat to European crayfish from non-indigenous crayfish species. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems. 11. http://www.kmae-journal.org/articles/kmae/pdf/2009/03/kmae09055.pdf DOI:10.1051/kmae/2009025

Holdich D, Black J, 2007. The spiny-cheek crayfish, Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817) [Crustacea: Decapoda: Cambaridae], digs into the UK. Aquatic Invasions. 2 (1), 1-16. http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2007/AI_2007_2_1_Holdich_Black.pdf DOI:10.3391/ai.2007.2.1.1

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Rakauskas V, Ruginis T, Arbaciauskas K, 2010. Expansion of the Spinycheek Crayfish, Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque 1817), in the Nemunas River Basin, Lithuania. Freshwater Crayfish. 73-76.

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Organizations

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Czech Republic: University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, Laboratory of Ethology of Fish and Crayfish, Zátiší 728/II, 389 25 Vodňany, , České Budějovice, http://www.frov.jcu.cz/en/about-faculty/institutes/research-institute-fish-culture-hydrobiology/lab-ethology-fish-crayfish2

Principal Source

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Draft datasheet under review.

Contributors

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21/07/19 Original text by:

Elena Tricarico, Dip. Biologia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via Madonna del Piano 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy

Distribution Maps

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