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Crayfish in Europe


native species.jpg

  • Noble crayfish (Astacus astacus)

  • Stone crayfish (Austropotamobius torrentium)

  • White-clawed crayfish (`Austropotamobius pallipes´)

The native crayfish species of Central Europe belong to the possibly polyphyletic Astacidae (Crustacea, Decapoda, Astacida), of which 3-4 species naturally occur in Central Europe. These are the Noble crayfish, the Stone crayfish, and the White-clawed crayfish (which is thought to represent a species complex with two species—Austropotamobius pallipes and Austropotamobius italicus). Narrow-clawed crayfish are treated as an alien species here, although the species is assumed to be native in the most eastern part of Austria (Narrow-clawed crayfish also represent a yet unresolved species complex with a varying number of suggested species).


alien species.jpg

  • Narrow-clawed crayfish (`Astacus leptodactylus´)

  • Spiny-cheek crayfish (Faxonius limosus)

  • Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

  • Red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii)

  • Calico crayfish (Faxonius immunis)

  • Virile crayfish (Faxonius virilis)

  • White-river crayfish (Procambarus acutus/zonangulus)

  • Kentucky river crayfish (Faxonius juvenilis)

  • Marmorkrebs (Procambarus virginalis)

  • Red claw (Cherax quadricarinatus)

Alien crayfish currently outnumber native crayfish throughout most parts of Central Europe. The vast majority of alien crayfish species originate from North America, where crayfish have undergone a stronger species radiation than in Eurasia during the last 90 million years, and where approximately 460 recent species occur.

Based on initial introduction history and time, the alien crayfish species in Europe can be categorized as either `Old´ or `New´. `Old´ alien crayfish species were deliberately stocked before 1975 to support the production or harvest of crayfish, whereas `New´ alien crayfish species have reached European inland waters after 1980 via much more diverse pathways, including aquaculture, illegal pond stocking, as fishing bait or, most recently, as aquarium species.

For more detailed species accounts, please refer to the crayfish monographs listed here.1)


1) Please note that this section is still under construction (and will be for some time). I will gradually integrate the species, so please check back later for as yet missing descriptions.