Faxonius rusticus (rusty crayfish)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Principal Source
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Faxonius rusticus (Girard, 1852)
Preferred Common Name
- rusty crayfish
Other Scientific Names
- Orconectes rusticus (Girard, 1852)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Faxonius rusticus (formerly Orconectes rusticus) is a crayfish native to rivers and lakes in the Ohio river basin in the USA. It is considered one of the most invasive introduced crayfish. It is a very aggressive and voracious species, feeding on macrophytes, fish eggs and invertebrates and thus decreasing biodiversity and causing cascading trophic interactions. It outcompetes congenerics and hybridizes with F. propinquus. It reduces also sport-fish abundance. It can live in a variety of habitats, has a high dispersal capability and can spread both unaided and facilitated by humans, who mainly moved it as bait for angling. Up to now, it has been introduced only within North America, predominantly but not exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the continent, but it is already present in the ornamental trade in Europe and so is at risk of being introduced there.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Crustacea
- Class: Malacostraca
- Subclass: Eumalacostraca
- Order: Decapoda
- Suborder: Reptantia
- Unknown: Astacoidea
- Family: Cambaridae
- Genus: Faxonius
- Species: Faxonius rusticus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
According to Crandall and De Grave (2017), the accepted name of the species is Faxonius rusticus (Girard, 1852), replacing the previous name, Orconectes rusticus. The English common name of the species is ‘rusty crayfish’.
DescriptionTop of page
Detailed descriptions of Faxonius rusticus are provided by Hamr (2002) and Souty-Grosset et al. (2006).
Faxonius rusticus has an anterior cephalothorax, comprising the head and 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.
Faxonius rusticus has a brownish-green body with dark, rusty-red spots on either side of the carapace (these are not always present, depending on the water), small rusty spots on the abdominal segments, and large chelae with an oval gap when closed. The dactyl is smooth and S-shaped; the tips of the chelae are red 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 the abdomen (gonopods) modified for copulation. The reproductive Form I males have larger and harder gonopods, larger claws 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 is usually 10 cm (without claws), with males larger than females.
DistributionTop of page
Faxonius rusticus is native to the Ohio river basin in the USA, including tributaries, in western Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, and small parts of some neighbouring states. It is considered cryptogenic in Lake Erie (Hobbs, 1974; Page 1985; Hobbs et al. 1989; Taylor, 2000). It is reported as established in about 20 US states (predominantly but not exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the country), as having been introduced in a number of other states (Durland Donahou et al., 2019), and as established in three provinces in Canada (Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec) (Phillips, 2010; Desroches et al., 2014). It is the most widespread alien crayfish in the Great Lakes, occurring in all five of them.
Faxonius rusticus has not been so far been introduced outside North America -- it is already present in the ornamental trade in Europe (Chucholl, 2013; Mrugala et al., 2015), but has not yet been found in the wild. The Crayfish Atlas (Souty-Grosset et al., 2006) referred to the finding of F. rusticus specimens in France, but morphological analyses and DNA barcoding revealed that in fact they belonged to F. juvenilis (Chucholl and Daudey, 2008; Filipová et al., 2011).
Distribution TableTop of page
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: 17 Dec 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|France||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)||Reported as Introduced F. rusticus but later identified as F. juvenilis|
|Canada||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive||Present based on regional distribution|
|-Quebec||Present, Localized||Introduced||2011||Invasive||Lac Brome, Montérégie|
|-Illinois||Present||Native||Native in small area close to Indiana, introduced (first report 1906) in other areas|
|-Kentucky||Present||Native||Introduced (first report 1982) in a few areas|
|-Massachusetts||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Reported in 1989 but no further records|
|-Michigan||Present||Native||Invasive||Native to small area in south, cryptogenic in Lake Erie, introduced (first report 1992) elsewhere|
|-New Hampshire||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||1989||Reported in 1989 but no further records|
|-Ohio||Present||Native and Introduced||Invasive||Native and introduced (first report 1897) in different regions; cryptogenic in Lake Erie|
|-Tennessee||Present, Localized||Native||Native to small area in north; introduced to another part of state in 1989; status of introduced population unknown|
|-Wyoming||Absent, Eradicated||Introduced (first report 2003)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Faxonius rusticus has been spread mainly spread by humans, who introduced it widely as bait for anglers (Butler and Stein, 1985; Lodge et al. 1986; Hobbs et al. 1989; Lodge et al. 1994; Kerr et al., 2005; Kilian et al., 2012), and also to remove weeds (Hamr, 2002; Phillips, 2010; Durland Donahou et al., 2019) or for commercial harvest (Wilson et al., 2004). According to Durland Donahou et al. (2019), the first reports outside the native range occurred in the 1950s (Wisconsin), with spread into the northern Great Lakes region starting mainly in the 1960s. The most recent reports in ‘new’ states are from South Dakota (2015) and Nevada (2016).
In Canada, Faxonius rusticus was first reported in Ontario in 1963 (probably introduced by anglers from Ohio -- Crocker and Barr, 1968), in Manitoba in 2007 (Invasive Species Council of Manitoba, 2019) and in Quebec in 2011 (Desroches et al., 2014; so far it is just known from one lake but there is concern that it could spread further).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Ontario||USA||1960s||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Crocker and Barr (1968)||Introduced as bait for anglers, probably from Ohio|
|Wisconsin||1957||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Capelli and Magnuson (1983)||Introduced as bait for anglers|
|Minnesota||1967||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Gunderson (2008)||Probably introduced as bait for anglers|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Although Faxonius rusticus is widely recognized as highly invasive and banned in many states, new occurrences are often reported, because the species is still used as bait or in laboratories with the risk of live individuals being dumped in the wild. Its presence in the Internet trade in Europe is also causing great concern about illegal release. Once present in a region, it has high potential to rapidly colonize connecting river systems (Hamr, 2002).
HabitatTop of page
Faxonius rusticus inhabits rivers, streams, ponds and lakes with different substrates from silt to rock and plenty of debris for cover. It can colonize slower, deeper pools with aquatic macrophytes as well as shallow fast water in streams (Hamr, 2002). It prefers cobble/rocky habitat, which allows it to hide if necessary (Taylor and Redmer, 1996). It needs permanent clear, well-oxygenated water (Capelli, 1982; Hamr, 2002). It is commonly reported in water with depths of less than 1 metre, although it has been found at 14.6 meters in Lake Michigan (Taylor and Redmer, 1996). Very shallow waters seem to impede mobility (El-Hashemy, 1999). Pool areas deeper than 20 cm are inhabited by adults, and shallower areas (<15 cm depth) close to stream edges by juveniles (Butler and Stein, 1985).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Freshwater||Lakes||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Freshwater||Reservoirs||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Freshwater||Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Freshwater||Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Freshwater||Ponds||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Faxonius rusticus can hybridize with congenerics. It can mate with F. propinquus to produce fertile offspring, able to outcompete both parental species for food and shelter (Perry et al., 2001b). Hybridization with F. rusticus increased the displacement rate of F. propinquus by over 20% relative to that caused by ecological factors alone (Perry et al. 2001a). However, the subsequent generations show a lower survival rate, leading to the lack of a stable hybrid zone and an increased rate of decline in F. propinquus (see Lodge et al., 2012).
A detailed description of the reproductive biology of Faxonius rusticus 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 (Anderson and Simon, 2015). The species mates in late summer, early autumn, or early spring. Reproduction can occur 1-2 times per year and females may lay eggs in late autumn, but they usually store the sperm until spring (late April or May); eggs are then laid as water temperatures begin to increase. Females lay from 80 to 575 eggs and carry the fertilized eggs under the abdomen. On average, eggs hatch after 20 to 30 days, depending on the water temperature. Young crayfish are similar to adults and become free-living in 10-20 days but can stay with the mother for several weeks. Maturity can be reached during the first year, but juveniles are more likely to mature in the following year. Size at maturity is 3.5 cm total length (14-23 mm cephalothorax length). As females can store sperm, males do not have to be introduced to establish a population.
Physiology and Phenology
Faxonius rusticus is generally considered a tertiary burrower, i.e. it builds burrows only for reproduction or to escape extreme conditions (Thoma, 2015). Immediately following copulation, females can construct horizontal burrows in the banks near the water line (Crocker and Barr, 1968). At temperatures > 30°C adults burrow in sand and gravel under rocks near the shore (Mundahl, 1989). In a clay-bottomed Ontario stream, the species has been observed to dig extensive and deep burrows (Hamr, 1977).
In cold climates (e.g. Canada), reproduction starts when the water temperature rises above 5°C. Moulting stops at temperatures below 10-12°C.
Recent studies showed that individuals from invasive populations had significantly faster growth rates and higher survival than those from the native range (Sargent and Lodge, 2014), and that juveniles from the introduced range were more active, showing greater behavioural plasticity, than those from the native range (Reisinger et al., 2017).
The life span of Faxonius rusticus is 3-4 years (Hamr, 2002).
In its natural range, Faxonius rusticus is most active from spring to autumn at temperatures above 10°C. It becomes torpid at temperatures less than 4°C. Moulting stops at temperatures below 10-12°C. In cold climates (e.g. Canada), reproduction starts when the water temperature rises above 5°C.
Population Size and Structure
Faxonius rusticus can reach high densities, up to 113 crayfish/m2, with average densities between 6 and 64 crayfish/m2 (Hamr, 2002); it can spread rapidly through contiguous water courses. The sex ratio is approximately 1:1 but adult males are generally more active and thus more likely to be caught.
Like other crayfish, Faxonius rusticus is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of food items: macroinvertebrates, aquatic plants, fish eggs, small fish and detritus (Lodge et al., 2012). It is a voracious feeder, having a higher metabolic rate and greater appetite than other crayfish; it is reported to feed twice as much as F. virilis. Juveniles are more carnivorous (Hamr, 2002).
Faxonius rusticus is generally tolerant of thermal extremes, and in its native range it is exposed to water ranging from near 0°C to 39°C (Mundahl and Benton, 1990). However, the preferred range is between 20 and 25°C, and Mundahl and Benton (1990) suggest that this often results in adults forcing juveniles from preferred habitats into warmer waters, causing the latter to be found in water 1.5 to 6.8°C warmer than adults. The species is reported to have few constraints (e.g. pH) in its current range (Hamr, 2002), although water with pH between 5.4 and 6.1 can be lethal for juveniles (Hamr, 2002). Due to its superior streamlining and station-holding capabilities (i.e. ability to maintain its position in high flow conditions), it has been able to colonise upstream portions of fast flowing rivers (Hamr, 2002). However, stream velocities of 66 cm/sec affected its dispersal (Perry and Jones, 2018). Recently, it has been shown to survive at salinities of 15 ppt, suggesting that it might potentially be able to spread in estuaries (Bazer et al., 2016).
ClimateTop of page
|B - Dry (arid and semi-arid)||Tolerated||< 860mm precipitation annually|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Df - Continental climate, wet all year||Preferred||Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||15||Bazer et al. (2016)|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||0||39||20-28||20-28 preferred; 0-39 tolerated: Mundahl and Benton (1990)|
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Natural predators of Faxonius rusticus include grackles (Quiscalus spp.), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris). Predatory fish have been reported to avoid F. rusticus because of its large claws, thus favouring its invasion to the detriment of native crayfish (DiDonato and Lodge, 1993; Roth and Kitchell, 2005; Kuhlmann et al., 2008).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Faxonius rusticus can disperse naturally through water systems, but is less likely to survive movement over land (Hamr, 2002); however it does have some ability to walk overland (Claussen et al., 2000), even if restricted to certain temperatures and humidity levels. Although its movement is highly variable, it is not exceptional for individuals to travel around 220 m in 48 h (Byron and Wilson, 2001). It has been reported to spread downstream by 0.9 to 3.7 km per year and upstream by 0.45 to 1.5 km per year in the Thunder Bay region near Lake Superior (Hamr, 2002, citing Momot, 1997). F. rusticus is considered to be a more invasive species than F. virilis, capable of quickly colonizing new areas. Olden et al. (2006) report that in Wisconsin lakes and streams, F. rusticus had increased from 3% of all crayfish records to approximately 50% since the 1970s. In a long-term study in a single lake, it showed a high dispersal rate (0.68 km/year -- Wilson et al., 2004).
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 rusticus.
Faxonius rusticus is sold to schools as a laboratory organism (Kilian et al., 2012), and may later be dumped in wild habitats (Larson and Olden, 2008). It is commonly used as bait by anglers (Butler and Stein, 1985; Lodge et al. 1986; Hobbs et al. 1989; Lodge et al. 1994; Kerr et al., 2005; Kilian et al., 2012), who may empty their buckets into watercourses after fishing (Wilson et al., 2004; DiStefano et al., 2009); this is the main cause of introduction in the USA and Canada (Kilian et al., 2012). It has also been introduced into lakes to control aquatic weeds (Hamr, 2002; Phillips, 2010; Durland Donahou et al., 2019), or by commercial crayfish harvesters (Wilson et al., 2004).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Aquarium trade||Reported in aquarium trade in Europe||Yes||Mrugala et al. (2015)|
|Biological control||To control weeds in some lakes||Yes||Hamr (2002)|
|Fisheries||For commercial harvest||Yes||Wilson et al. (2004)|
|Hunting, angling, sport or racing||As bait for angling; this is the main cause of introduction||Yes||Yes||Kilian et al. (2012)|
|Interconnected waterways||The species can disperse quite fast||Yes||Hamr (2002); Olden et al. (2006); Gunderson (2008)|
|Research||As lab animal in schools||Yes||Kilian et al. (2012)|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Faxonius rusticus can compete with juvenile game fish for benthic macroinvertebrates (Hamr, 2002). It significantly reduced trout egg abundance in the Great Lakes, hampering trout rehabilitation efforts (Jonas et al., 2005). Personal observations of fisheries managers have suggested decline of bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), northern pike (Esox lucius), and bass (Micropterus spp.) populations following the introduction of rusty crayfish, caused by either egg predation, competition with juveniles for food, or reduced aquatic vegetation (Gunderson, 2008). An estimate of about $ 1.5 million per year for fisheries damage has been calculated in Vilas County, Wisconsin (Keller et al., 2008).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
Being an aggressive and omnivorous species, Faxonius rusticus can cause a decrease in macrophyte cover and the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates, altering the ecosystem function, and most likely also altering nutrient cycling. Its feeding habits can change trophic interactions. High densities of F. rusticus have been found to be correlated with a decrease in macroinvertebrate densities and an increase of periphyton productivity (Charlebois and Lamberti, 1996). In laboratory experiments, Welch (2014) found that F. rusticus is a bioturbator, especially at high densities, increasing water turbidity and potentially exacerbating algae growth.
Impact on Biodiversity
As it is more aggressive than other crayfish and has a large body and claws, Faxonius rusticus outcompetes native crayfish (Hill and Lodge, 1994; Olsen et al., 1991; Olden et al., 2011). In lakes of northern Wisconsin, it was able to displace the native F. virilis, and the previous invader, F. propinquus (Byron and Wilson, 2001; Garvey and Stein, 1993; Hill and Lodge, 1994). Laboratory experiments showed that F. virilis was excluded from shelter by F. rusticus and F. propinquus, and as a result was more predated by largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (Garvey et al., 1994). Hill and Lodge (1999) confirmed the competitive superiority of F. rusticus, and found that, in the presence of predators, F. virilis growth declined substantially whereas F. rusticus growth declined slightly, although F. propinquus growth was unaffected. Mortality of all three crayfishes increased in the presence of M. salmoides, with F. virilis experiencing the greatest and F. rusticus the least mortality. Similarly, in laboratory studies, F. rusticus adults were not susceptible to predation by M. salmoides and did not alter shelter use when fish were present; even its juveniles were less susceptible to predation than those of the native F. sanbornii as a result of occupying shelters more often than the native juveniles (Butler and Stein, 1985).Peters and Lodge (2013) observed that co-existence between F. rusticus and F. virilis was possible if F. virilis altered its habitat use in the presence of F. rusticus. F. limosus is also dominated in shelter competition and aggression trials by F. rusticus (Klocker and Strayer, 2004).
Faxonius rusticus is also known to hybridize with native crayfish F. propinquus in Lake Michigan (Perry et al., 2001 a,b). In Ontario, F. propinquus is the main prey of the locally endangered queensnake (Regina septemvittata), an obligate feeder on freshly moulted crayfish (Reid and Nocera, 2015); its displacement by F. rusticus could create problems for the snake, whose adaptability to prey upon F. rusticus is unknown.
Faxonius rusticus is a voracious predator and, being able to reach high densities, can imperil native macroinvertebrates, which also reduces resource availability for other species (Klocker and Strayer, 2004; Kuhlmann and Hazelton, 2007; Bobeldyk and Lamberti, 2008). It can threaten freshwater mussels (Unionidae), and heavily prey on snails -- in Trout Lake, Wisconsin, Wilson et al. (2004) observed a decrease from >10,000 to <5 snails/m2 in one invaded area. In a study in 10 lakes in northern Wisconsin (Kreps et al., 2012), snails declined much more in habitats preferred by F. rusticus (sand and cobble) than in those avoided by the crayfish (muck) although, unexpectedly, no consistent differences in snail species composition were recorded between high and low crayfish density lakes. On the contrary, another study showed that, at moderate densities, F. rusticus had a similar impact to native F. propinquus and could reduce macroinvertebrate density without altering community composition (Kuhlmann, 2016). Laboratory experiments revealed that, owing to its larger size and thicker shell, adult Bellamya chinensis [Cipangopaludina chinensis], an invasive snail co-occurring with F. rusticus, were more protected from crayfish attack than native snail species (especially Physa and Lymnaea), which experienced a reduction of >90% in the presence of F. rusticus (Johnson et al., 2009). In Trout Lake, Wisconsin, F. rusticus decreased the mean abundance of Odonata, Amphipoda, and Trichoptera (Wilson et al., 2004).
Faxonius rusticus also reduces macrophyte richness and abundance (Alexander et al., 2008; Rosenthal et al., 2006; Roth et al., 2007; Wilson et al., 2004). In northern Wisconsin, lakes with F. rusticus showed an 80% decline of submerged macrophyte species richness (Wilson et al., 2004).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Orconectes virilis (virile crayfish)||No Details||USA||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified)||Olden et al. (2011); Lodge et al. (2012)|
|Faxonius propinquus||No Details||USA||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Hybridization||Olden et al. (2011); Lodge et al. (2012); Perry et al. (2001a; b)|
|Physella gyrina||No Details||USA||Predation||Johnson et al. (2009)|
|Lymnaea stagnalis||No Details||USA||Predation||Johnson et al. (2009)|
|Lepomis macrochirus (bluegill)||No Details||USA||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Predation||Gunderson (2008)||Competition, egg predation|
|Esox lucius (pike)||No Details||USA||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified); Predation||Gunderson (2008)||Competition, egg predation|
|Salvelinus namaycush (lake trout)||No Details||Canada; USA||Predation||Jonas et al. (2005)||egg predation|
|Regina septemvittata (queensnake)||LC (IUCN red list: Least concern); National list(s)||Ontario||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition (unspecified)||Reid and Nocera (2015)||Probably outcompeting its main prey|
Social ImpactTop of page
Due to its greater conspicuousness during daylight hours than native crayfish species, Faxonius rusticus has resulted in a decline in recreational swimming in areas where it is present, as swimmers fear stepping on it and being pinched by its large claws (Gunderson, 2008).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its 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
- Altered trophic level
- Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Increases vulnerability to invasions
- Modification of natural benthic communities
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition (unspecified)
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Although Faxonius rusticus is abundant and common (and has in some cases been spread by commercial crayfish harvesters -- Wilson et al., 2004), it has not been used extensively for commercial purpose (Hamr, 2002), although there is a limited amount of harvesting for food (Gunderson, 2008). It is often used as bait for anglers (Butler and Stein, 1985; Lodge et al., 1986; Hobbs et al., 1989; Lodge et al., 1994; Kerr et al., 2005; Kilian et al., 2012). It is commonly sold to schools and biological supply houses (Kilian et al., 2012); and it has been intentionally introduced in some lakes to remove weeds (Hamr, 2002; Phillips, 2010; Durland Donahou et al., 2019).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Biological control
- Laboratory use
- 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 InspectionTop of page
Traps can be used for surveillance and monitoring of Faxonius rusticus, even if not always effective when it is at low density. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been successfully used to detect the species at low density (Dougherty et al., 2016), even in large lakes (Larson et al., 2017). Citizen science could be promoted to monitor the possible introduction and spread of the species.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
There are more than 60 Faxonius species in North America. F. juvenilis is very similar to Faxonius rusticus: in F. juvenilis the terminal elements of form I gonopods are more elongated and the ratio of central projection length to total gonopod length is greater (Taylor, 2000). F. limosus has spines on each side of the carapace (Souty-Grosset et al., 2006). Faxonius virilis is bluer in colour than F. rusticus, without rust markings, and has broader shorter chelae with distinct yellow tubercles (Ontario Nature, 2019), generally less smooth than the claws of F. rusticus.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.
Like other aquatic species, Faxonius rusticus is difficult to eradicate one established. A ban on live sales would be an effective means of limiting the risk of introduction of the species. For example, in many US states (e.g. Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin) it is illegal to introduce F. rusticus and for anglers to possess, bait shops to sell, or aquarists to rear the species, although not all these actions are banned in all relevant states (Gunderson, 2008; Peters and Lodge, 2009). In Canada, in Manitoba it has been illegal since 2007 to possess any crayfish (Manitoba Fisheries, 2008); in Ontario, it is illegal to move crayfish from a lake and for bait dealers to sell crayfish (Peters and Lodge, 2009; Kerr, 2012).
Early warning systems
Traps can be used for surveillance and monitoring of Faxonius rusticus, but are not always effective when it is at low density. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been used to successfully detect it at low density (Dougherty et al., 2016), even in large lakes (Larson et al., 2017). Citizen science could be promoted to monitor the possible introduction and spread of the species.
Campaigns to educate and increase awareness about Faxonius rusticus can be effective in curbing illegal introductions, especially if targeted at specific sectors.
The use of baited traps can reduce the density of Faxonius rusticus populations. However, juveniles and ovigerous females can be trap-shy and thus less likely to be trapped; moreover, trapping programmes are only effective if continued in the long term. Mechanical removal (e.g. trapping) is usually coupled with another technique to achieve the eradication (or near-eradication).
Beaver dams, hydro dams, flood control weirs and waterfalls can block the movement of Faxonius rusticus, or at least slow it, rather effectively (Momot, 1997). In an experimental study by Peters et al. (2008), electric fences coupled with manual removal reduced densities of F. rusticus.
In an isolated 1 km2 lake in Wisconsin (Sparkling Lake), a long-term management action (8 years) involving the combination of intensive trapping and the protection of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) from fishing pressure led to the collapse of the Faxonius rusticus population (a 99% decrease -- Hein et al., 2006, 2007; Hansen et al., 2013).
Wolf and Moore (2002) found that metolachlor at a high sub-lethal concentration interfered with the ability of Faxonius rusticus to receive or respond to social signals, affecting agonistic behavior; they suggested possible implications in its management. However, chemicals are not species-selective and can be expensive.
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 NeedsTop of page
More research is needed to compare native and introduced populations of Faxonius rusticus in order to find possible behavioural differences in the new habitats; research is also needed to better assess its physiological tolerances.
ReferencesTop of page
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04/07/19 Original text by:
Elena Tricarico, Dip. Biologia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via Madonna del Piano 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
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