On this website you can find various information on Freshwater Crayfish in Central Europe. A primary objective is to raise awareness of the endangered status of native crayfish and the risks associated with alien crayfish.

What are crayfish?

Freshwater crayfish (Astacida) are a monophyletic taxon of decapod crustaceans and the largest mobile invertebrates in European inland waters. They are dominant keystone species in many temperate freshwater habitats and provide important ecosystem services. Native crayfish are a vital part of intact freshwater ecosystems and flagship species for conservation efforts.

Europe harbors six native species of crayfish, of which three to four species naturally occur in Central Europe. These species face the competition of at least ten established alien crayfish species. In fact, alien crayfish species in Central Europe represent one of the most extensive and dramatic – yet often neglected – case examples of introduction, spread, and impact of alien species.